9/11 Dad

Welcome to the Tuesday guest blog. Every Tuesday "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By Steve Fox

My eight-year-old son recently came home with a book titled: September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed America.

My first reaction: What's THAT book doing in an elementary school? Then I remembered that whole censorship thing. As a journalist, I'm supposed to be against that. As a parent, I want all 9/11 books moved to the middle school library.

I asked my son why he had picked out the book.

He said: "I wanted to read about it because you never talk about it and I wanted to see if you've lied about it."

Lie is a big word with eight-year-olds, especially ones with Sean's black-and-white view of the universe.

I told him that yes, Mom and Dad had avoided talking to him about it because it dredges up old emotions (the sex talk will be easy). I told him I agree with the headline of the book. The world has changed. And now I was facing what I had hoped to avoid: How do I tell my kid about the world before and the new world he's growing up in now?

He listened. Eight-year-olds rarely do that. He locked in on the book's facts, which said that 5,000 were killed in the attacks. I told him it was closer to 3,000. The numbers seemed to overwhelm him. The book had many chilling photos from that day.

He asked what "hijackers" meant. He asked how the planes could have been taken over by strangers. We talked about the Pennsylvania crash and "heroes." I told him about how I had seen smoke coming from the Pentagon.

I told him about Dad not being able to reach Mom on her cellphone and how Mom picked him up hours early from day care. We talked about my Uncle Mike, a New York City police officer who was unreachable for hours. We talked about my two aunts who worked near the World Trade Center and how a kind ambulance driver drove them back home to Brooklyn. We spoke about the survivors and the widows. We talked about the security we went through at the airport on our way to Disney World last year. We spoke about the security machines at the Statue of Liberty that blew air and scared his three-year-old sister. It's all he's ever known. I tried to explain that it wasn't always that way.

He asked about Palestinians and Israelis. He asked, "How come everyone hates us?"

I told him that we didn't know how many people hated us before that day. That it's gotten worse since September 11. That we lost a chance to make it better.

He said he hated President Bush. "He doesn't care about the people of this country and he doesn't want to hear what people have to say. I even tried to help him when I sent him an e-mail and he didn't respond back to me," said my son.

"I would use the f-word if I saw him," Sean said. I had spoken to him about not using that word before; this time I just let it go.

I realize now that I can't shield him from the truth anymore. He's in third grade. He knows about 9/11 now. But he still believes in Santa Claus.

Steve Fox worked as an editor at washingtonpost.com for 10 years. He was the national/political editor on 9/11 and during its aftermath. He lives in Gaithersburg, Md., with his family.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  February 6, 2007; 7:30 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Comments

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First

Posted by: Idiot boy | February 6, 2007 7:41 AM

"Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life."

Um, where's the balance issue?

Posted by: Nice story but... | February 6, 2007 7:45 AM

Thank you for this article that lets us know how to balance telling your kids the "whole truth" and keeping them "safe" from the whole truth.

Posted by: Thanks for the article | February 6, 2007 7:51 AM

I'm a diehard Democrat and even I thought this blog went a little too far. Regardless of whether or not I agree with Bush's politics (I don't for the record), I think it is important to teach children to respect our leaders. And I'm not sure what the point was in writing a blog about teaching our children about 9/11 and throwing in using the f-word for Bush and Israel and Palestine. I mean - did the 8 year old really ask about that??

Posted by: londonmom | February 6, 2007 7:53 AM

As a parent of children were are or were once 8, both highly intelligent children, neither one would say they hate the president unless they heard me say it or I told them to say it. Sorry, but age 8 is not developmentally ready to reason current events as is portrayed in this essay today. I am a Democrat too and I think the Bush administration is a failure, but I agree with the others that this blog goes too far. (I don't agree that you have to "respect" Bush. This isn't a theocracy or dictatorship)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 8:01 AM

I'm sixth!!!

Posted by: Yippee! | February 6, 2007 8:03 AM

What does Israel and the Palestinians have to do with 9/11? We were attacked by Islamist extremists who hate America. Those who have brought the Israeli and Palestinian issue into this discussion as the cause of 9/11 are the same ones who have said that the Jews knew about the plot...blah blah blah

Posted by: and... | February 6, 2007 8:05 AM

I think its terrific to talk to kids about real stuff instead of hiding it from them. You don't have to give all the scoop like the flight crew having their throats cut, but a basic explanation is in order. When we hide things and shield them from big stuff (death, war) is what makes things really scary for kids. I'd hate my kids to grow up in this utopian suburb not realizing that they are part of a greater world and they are incredibly lucky to have the comforts that they have. If I worry about telling my children about people starving in Sudan, imagine the explaining the parents in Sudan have to do.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 6, 2007 8:06 AM

Could it be that the child's view is shaped by the parent's (objective and correct) statement to him that "...it's gotten worse since September 11. That we lost a chance to make it better"?

Assuming you agree with that statement, it is then hard to take issue with the child's desire to use the f-word, given what the author describes as "Sean's black-and-white view of the universe."

I don't agree with the author "let(ting) it go". I think he should have talked to the boy about his anger. But, in the real world where kids this age are reading about 9/11, I think it would be ridiculous and utterly harmful to the child to ask the child to suppress his feelings of anger/resentment towards the administration, the terrorists or whomever else the child has a visceral response to.

It is ok for the child to have emotions. Just help the child reason through them and deal with them.

Editorially, this blog is usually filled with hand-wringing over why we are trapped in these gender roles in society (e.g., lack of SAHDs). If we don't help children express their feelings then deal with them, all we will do is reinforce those silly gender roles -- for boys, suppress your feelings and seethe to yourself.

Posted by: Devil's Advocate | February 6, 2007 8:11 AM

Gee Steve, I had a hard time figuring out you were an editor at the Washington Post after reading the following:

"I told him that we didn't know how many people hated us before that day. That it's gotten worse since September 11. That we lost a chance to make it better.

He said he hated President Bush. "He doesn't care about the people of this country and he doesn't want to hear what people have to say. I even tried to help him when I sent him an e-mail and he didn't respond back to me," said my son.

"I would use the f-word if I saw him," Sean said. I had spoken to him about not using that word before; this time I just let it go. "

I couldn't be more politically different then you, but I teach my children that hate is a very strong word - we don't use it lightly. I think Bill Clinton was the worst President that walked this earth but I don't tell my children I hate him, I hate what he did to this country. I think you left your child with the impression that we deserved what we got on 9/11 and I think that is sad and disgusting. Raising a child to hate can be dangerous.

I have an 8 year old too. We have not sheilded her from the truth. We don't get into the politics of 9/11 but we have told her what horrible people terrorists are, how they prey on innocents and no one in this country is to blame for what they did to us.

Perhaps Leslie was trying to stir things up after yesterday's mediocre topic, but today's blog will deteriorate into a political discussion on terrorism, the war in Iraq and President Bush, not how much information to share with our kids.

Again, just like yesterdays's HPV discusssion, some people don't want to broach topics with their kids - whether it be sex or terrorism. Giving kids information can be a good thing, even if it is hard. Life is not all sunshine and lollipops, nor is it bleak and dark - and learning to "hate the President" when you are 8 sounds like Steve waited too long to talk to his son.


Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 8:14 AM

I'm a little confused too. The 8 year old had never heard of 9/11 but was e-mailing policy prescriptions to the President? About what exactly? Foreign policy? Solutions to the social security crisis? How could he have been hermetically sealed in a bubble and given precious little information about the outside world -- and simultaneously emerge as a full-blown adult policy analyst? What exactly were his opinions about PResident Bush, the Republican Party and the current events based on -- if he was ignorant of such crucial events? Was he reading the newspaper? LIstening to NPR? Or just his dad?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 8:17 AM

You son knows the "F" word and how to use it. Do you teach your son the "N" word also?

Maybe a discussion of how some words are inappropiate and a discussion of basic respect for people is also needed.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 8:22 AM

8 years old? sad.

Posted by: experienced mom | February 6, 2007 8:25 AM

I don't get it-what does this: "He asked about Palestinians and Israelis. He asked, "How come everyone hates us?" have to do with 9/11? Did you explain that the majority of the hijackers were from an allied country - Saudi Arabia?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 8:30 AM

Fred, I agree with you entirely. While kids do indeed know the f-bomb, they also need to be told not to use it.

And respect is for the office, not necessarily for the person holding it. I worry this child is being taught to not have any respect at all. Just wait until he is a teen!

Further, I spent a lot of time teaching my kids to think for themselves, even at an early age, rather than parrot their parents (say that out loud three time real fast, I dare you).

This blog entry bothers me for its blatant political slant. Then again, it is DC.

Posted by: dotted | February 6, 2007 8:30 AM

excuse me? I don't think everyone hates us. I heard that Saddam Hussein's last communication included the statement that he didn't want the Iraqi people to hate the citizens of the agressor countries, just the leadership. I thought that was huge and discussed it with my older kids. Sorry, I keep it light for the 10 year old. He remembers 9/11. He was in kindergarten. He just knows bad guys attacked NYC. That's enough for his age.

I teach respect for leaders with whom I disagree. I think respect is an important value to instill in our children for many reasons.

Posted by: experienced mom | February 6, 2007 8:30 AM

Cmac, somebody need not be a WaPo editor to believe the following:

"I told him that we didn't know how many people hated us before that day. That it's gotten worse since September 11. That we lost a chance to make it better."

The polls that our soldiers take of the Iraqi populace shows they feel the same.

Yes, this will degenerate into a political rock-fight if we let it. But this blog isn't the home of the passive, accepting liberal. We aren't Alan Combs. We fight back here. We could just all agree to a truce now....

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 8:31 AM

"I teach respect for leaders with whom I disagree."

Why? I have never understood this. The most important thing we as human beings can do is question authority and the events around us. I personally think Bush is a idiot and I have absolutely no respect for him or this administration.

Respect is to be EARNED. Kids can be taught that, but to not blindly say 'okay-dokey' to authority figures.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 8:36 AM

to anon at 8:36
Agreeing with someone is not the same as respect. Jeesh...basic social manners 101 here. I'm curious how you could possibly teach kids to respect themselves using your definition.

Posted by: dotted | February 6, 2007 8:42 AM

Using your son as a pawn to push your own political agenda? Sad.

Posted by: gobbler | February 6, 2007 8:44 AM

Don't want to be around when your kids are teenagers. And certainly would not want to teach them!

Posted by: to February 6, 2007 08:36 AM | February 6, 2007 8:44 AM

I think it is also important to talk about how the US didn't realize how many people supported us. We had world-wide support and help. I thought one of the big lessons from 9-11 is that we can count on, in times of great strife, a lot of people, whether around the corner or around the world.

Posted by: Di | February 6, 2007 8:54 AM

'The most important thing we as human beings can do is question authority and the events around us.'

Of course! I meant that we should question and disagree respectfully. Perhaps people will listen and begin to agree with someone who argues respectfully.

I think Bush is an idiot too. I didn't vote for him, but this country did. That's the system.

Posted by: experienced mom | February 6, 2007 8:54 AM

You really think an 8-year-old doesn't know the F word and how to use it? An 8-year-old goes to a school with 12-year-olds, who probably pepper their conversations with it when teachers aren't around. I knew that word at 8, and it certainly wasn't from my parents.

Posted by: Oh please... | February 6, 2007 8:56 AM

What a wonderful job you've done teaching your child to respect our country's leaders.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 8:58 AM

Heh heh.

I rode the public school bus. Trust me, I knew LOTS of words...

Posted by: to Oh please... | February 6, 2007 8:59 AM

Ouch! So much negativity in these responses. Isn't it good that Steve was able to talk with his son about a hugely difficult topic. My daughter's five. She was 9 weeks old on Sept. 11. I haven't talked to her about because I don't think a kindergartner's ready to grasp the scope of the world we live in. But Sean, at 8, is starting to. It's a difficult learning process. Things will need to be talked through. (And I knew the f-word in 3rd grade, too, in my cozy Md. suburb in 1973. Don't delude yourselves.)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 9:00 AM

This blog entry is naive on so many levels. I'm sorry, but trying to keep your son from finding out about 9/11? I wanted to make sure all of my children - including the youngest, who was not quite 5 when it happened - understood the who, what, and why.

As indicated by my nickname, I was raised as the son of an Army NCO. He retired when I was a senior in high school after 23 years as a Master Sergeant. He and my mother, a school teacher, taught all of us to always look for the truth, and to live for our values.

My father served for 12 months on the Korea DMZ (62-63) and for 14 months in South Vietnam (66-67). He believed in the US Army and his troops. Because of that he was very quick to stand up for what he believed in, regardless of the cost. He allowed the three of us children to skip school to attend his court-martial in 1971 in Germany. He was the First Sergeant of HQ Company of his outfit, and he disobeyed a direct order from his commanding officer that he considered to be illegal. He did so knowing that he would be court-martialed, but did so to make a point - stand up for what you believe in. He was acquitted at the court-martial when the board agreed that it was an illegal order, and he wanted to make sure that we children understood what was going on. I was 11 at the time; my brother was 9 and my sister was 12. He considered us to be plenty old enough to understand right vs wrong.

My father only "hated" four people in his life - William Westmoreland, Robert McNamara, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. In all four cases, it was because he believed that they didn't care about the troops in the Army; that they were willing to let young men die for their own political causes. Nonetheless, I was always taught to respect the office, because the organization, if its strong, can recover from an individual in power for a time.

(My fondest memento of my father is the picture of Gen Westmoreland pinning the Silver Star on him. If you want to see an SFC scowling at a four-star general while standing at attention in front of him, that's it.)

Wow, this is so off-topic for this blog. Okay, I get the picture; I'm going away now and will be back tomorrow to see what topic is being discussed.

Posted by: Army Brat | February 6, 2007 9:01 AM

I have no judgements here. It's a very hard thing to explain to a child; I think we can all agree on that. And because it's difficult (and because each child is different), I think we can agree that there is no one "right" way to explain it. I think the author did a fine job of explaining it to his son. And it's important to keep in mind that we all influence our children's learning based on our own biases and beliefs. None of us can be completely divorced from our beliefs to raise our children to be completely impartial. And because the book is being read in school, the child will hear lots of different view points from other kids and teachers.

His kid will be fine, no matter what some of you are saying. He will become a teen and will question his parents and will evaluate his own beliefs in college.

Posted by: Meesh | February 6, 2007 9:01 AM

to Oh, Please and others...

If these comments about know the F word were directed at me, I say sure, 8 yr olds know it. But please read the balance of my comment.

Maybe a discussion of how some words are inappropiate and a discussion of basic respect for people is also needed.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 9:03 AM

When I was 8, I had already started an environmentalist group based on information I learned from books like "Silent Spring." I also read the newspaper everyday. My parents were, and still are, staunch Republicans who thought I was crazy. BUT they allowed me to soak up any knowledge I could from all sides of any issue, and now I work for an auditing body in the government. I'm glad my parents allowed me certain freedoms... I think kids are more savvy than people give them credit for. I think kids have the creativity to change the world for the better, and sheltering them from the world will just hinder this.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 9:04 AM

Army Brat,

I agree with your dad on RMN.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 9:06 AM

Seems like another attempt to spin things against Bush. After 9-11 everybody cheered him when he spoke about winning the war on terrorism. Now everybody boos him. Looks like the bleeding hearts are going to let the terrorists win again. They have gotten really good at beating us with a war of attrition - just keep fighting and the liberal press will swing public opinion against the American troops and the US government will put it's tail between it's legs and run away. That is exactly what is happening now - it's just a matter of time until we run away, again.

Then the terrorists can regroup and attack again - in America - again. Just wait. It will happen.

As far as Steve Fox's parenting skills are concerned - no comment. Dad told me if I didn't have anything good to say I shouldn't say anything at all.

Posted by: SoMD | February 6, 2007 9:08 AM

What is so strange about a kid being interested in the world and politics? When I was 9 in the early 80s I wrote letters to President Regan asking him to please, please not blow up the world with a nuke. I didn't grow up in a particularly political household, but one that watched the news and read the paper daily. I was 9 - I could and did read, and drew my own conclusions. Being that age can be filled with anxiety about the world you can't control, and this 8 year old may be expressing that. For the record, when my son is old enough to speak I won't allow him to use the F work in my presence under any circumstance.

Posted by: mommabean | February 6, 2007 9:10 AM

I'm a fifth grade teacher. We studied elections and democracy last fall during the lead up to November. The kids picked the candidate for whom they wanted to vote, split themselves into political parties and debated, and also wrote papers on why their candidate should be elected. We had local candidates in (both sides) and they presented their views to the class and then the kids held a mock election. (Every candidate called to see how they'd done, BTW.)

I have to tell you that it was blatantly obvious to me that the parents of some of these kids are very open about their politics. I heard things coming out of my 5th graders' mouths that I knew could only be direct quotes from their parents. Parents, your children listen to you MUCH MORE than you realize. I know that most of us want to raise our children with our beliefs and values, but rational discourse about the other side(s) is not a bad thing.

Posted by: Teacher | February 6, 2007 9:15 AM

Steve,

Thank you for an excellent BLOG. My son (he's almost 7) doesn't know about 9/11 either. He was a baby when it happened. And he's scared enough about "bad people" in our neighborhood that I'm hesitant to teach have him know about 9/11 right now. Although he does know about the Iraq war (in Scouts we're putting together care packages for the soldiers), and he's worried if something like a war could happen right here in America. For right now, we're telling him no...that we're safe and sound, because he has to live, and function, and go to school...and be a kid. I'm sure at some point 9/11 will come up...and when it does, I hope we can have a discussion like you did with your son. For the record, I think President Bush is a lousy president, and I have not been hesitant to share that at the dinner table. That's my opinion...and I don't think it's a bad thing for my son to know about.

Thank again for an excellent guest blog!

Posted by: TO Steve | February 6, 2007 9:16 AM

Let me guess - you work for (or at least are an active member of) the RNC. You've got their anti-Democratic rhetoric down cold.

Posted by: to SoMD | February 6, 2007 9:16 AM

These quotes are obviously made up. That paragraph about Bush is so ridiculously NOT a statement from an 8 yr old who didn't even know about 9/11. He emails the president his ideas regarding 9/11 and Israel and Palestine? yeah, ok...

This blog is awful. Hate is an awful word- a "bad" word in my house. And letting it go that he would use the f-word toward Bush is not a good example. Why not teach him to construct an argument on a rational basis- not by throwing the f bomb around??

Nowhere in the conversation did you include the East v West struggle, religious zealotry. It's not just about them hating us- it's a deeply rooted cultural and religious based problem.

And it SHOULD NOT be shoved off onto Bush's shoulders.I do not like what Bush is doing for this country at all- but I also do'nt blame him for the hijackers' plans. Do you blame Clinton for WTC 1 or USS Cole? Nope- i don't hear people say they hate CLinton for that. Why not give him the whole history then? Don't picka nd choose for YOUR liking.

Just horrible.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 9:17 AM

I think that we are gonna' hit 500 comments today!

Posted by: First Comment | February 6, 2007 9:19 AM

One more thought -- remember that your children are watching you. If you are intolerant, they will be intolerant. If you hate Bush, BELIEVE ME, they'll know it and they'll hate Bush because they know you do and they think (even if they don't say it) that you're right. The other day I heard a 2nd grade girl telling her friends that boys only want one thing. That girl's mother is going through a particularly horrible divorce thanks to her husband's public infidelity.

Children should not be a billboard for your politics.

Posted by: Teacher | February 6, 2007 9:22 AM

I am not getting involved in the political portion of this debate- mostly because I found other parts of the peice so touching.

I am not married nor do I have kids but I dread the day I have will have to tell them about the day Grandpa's office got blown up.

Posted by: Christine | February 6, 2007 9:24 AM

to Teacher - very well said

Posted by: londonmom | February 6, 2007 9:24 AM

No, President Bush didn't cause 9/11 and when he responded he did an excellent job. That was absolutely a high point in his presidency. We had a common enemy, he was strong and decisive about his response...we went after Osama (although not successfully), and I truly believe as much as I personally do not like President Bush that he's kept us safe from terrorism.

It's when he led us into war in Iraq under the mistaken impression that weapons of mass distruction existed that things started to unravel for him. The rest of the world wasn't with us. They wanted to give sanctions more of an opportunity to work (and they were working). But President Bush and his advisors were willing to put America as a country on the line and go into Iraq with England as our ally, and few other countries in our camp. Did he have a motive based on the fact that Sadam had tried to kill his dad? Were their oil interests in their since Cheney and other top officials had personal oil interests? We'll never know.

We were under the mistaken impression that we could fight a quick (shock and awe) air war, with very little need to fight on the ground. And we didn't anticipate the the aftermath when we dismantled the existing government (no matter how good or bad it was)...and now we're entangled in a civil war with no clear plan on how to resolve it. In some ways, we've made the world unsafer...we've created a vacuum in one of the most volatile regions of the world. And in President Bush's wisdom to be "decisive" and not listen to what other world leaders have to say, we've deteriorated international relations for America along the way.

And while all of this was happening, there have been a lot of domestic issues that have gone unattended. We've cut taxes and racked up huge amounts of debt based on the war. In short...it's a mess!

Posted by: About President Bush | February 6, 2007 9:26 AM

Steve Fox was a Washington Post editor -- do you think he reported for all those 10 years with the same agenda he seems to push in this blog -- and on his child. Does this make for credible journalism?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | February 6, 2007 9:28 AM

Well, potentially useful blog topic, already degenerating into traditional DC partisan bickering. How/when/what do you tell your kids about big scary world events? My daughter is 5 1/2, and this fall in kindergarten the issue came up, but the message got twisted somewhere along the way -- when I picked her up that day, she was all excited because, she said, her teacher had told her that something really good had happened 5 years ago on that day, but that she'd have to ask her parents about it, so she was hugely excited for me to tell her what the wonderful thing was. I had about 5 seconds to figure out what to say, what not to say, how to say it, etc.

I ended up telling her that it wasn't a good day, it was a very bad day, because some very bad people hurt a lot of Americans. She kept pressing for details, so I ultimately told her they blew up a building. She wanted to understand why; I can't really remember what I said, but I think it started with bad people, then when she kept asking I explained that they were very, very angry at America and wanted to hurt us. But when she wanted to know how, I changed the subject -- right now, she adores flying, thinks it's the most exciting fun thing in the world, and so I just couldn't bring myself to tell her about the airplanes.

I'd also suggest lightening up on Steve a little about the f-word. The blog entry made it clear that he doesn't allow his son to use that word. But I think you also have to read your kid -- sometimes, when they're really upset, dealing with really scary things and strong emotions, they need to blow off steam, and the best thing you can do as a parent is to give them the time and space to work through it, not jump in with instant criticism. When the emotions have calmed down, then you can go back and discuss the higher-level, big kid stuff -- like respecting the office even if you don't like the current occupant, acceptable language, etc.

Posted by: Laura | February 6, 2007 9:30 AM

We lived on an air force base on 9/11 and my sons were 8 and 5 years old. They certainly knew what had happened - the base was locked down and they were told at school that unless I made it back within an hour that I wouldn't be able to return to the base and be at home with them. My husband was TDY at another base and couldn't fly home, even after they were released from lock down there. He drove 21 hours to get home to us. I was 7 months pregnant and fighting preterm labor. The medical care through the base was closed and to go off base to the hospital again meant we would be unable to return home. The schools were closed. Every building's sign was covered so it was not obvious which buildings had children in them. Armed guards patrolled even more. We were literally and figuratively imprisoned in our home for 3 days. The boys definitely remember that.

My husband was later deployed to Iraq for 4 months, and he was lucky because this was the shortest time of anyone we know. But 4 months of experiencing war changed him forever. The children heard about the war and wanted and craved all of the information they could get. Some to reassure them but also to fight the fear of the unknown. The boys remember this too.

To have tried to hide either of these events from my children would have been impossible. To find a way to explain things that reassured them to the extent possible but didn't give them some false sense of security was my challenge. If we hide 9/11, if we minimize this awful war and the effect it has on countless American families, if we are quiet so that we give the appearance of supporting the war or the President, then we are abdicating out jobs as parents to teach our children the skills their generation may need to avoid similar messes in the future. My children are intelligent and caring and very aware of world events. They travel internationally and know very well the hostility that has been directed at Americans. The blog was good - and important. We need to figure out ways to address 9/11 and Iraq so that our children's generation can avoid repeating our mistakes.

Sorry for the length, but the comments today have hit a nerve.

Posted by: Stacey | February 6, 2007 9:32 AM

There are many ways to discuss tragic events with small children and while they need to be given age appropriate information they still need information because they will hear it elsewhere - even preschool. We own "The Man Who Walked Between the Towers" - a children's book about an actual man who walked a tightrope(made of cable) between the twin towers while they were being built. The book was written pst 9/11, so it include a reference to them not being there any more. I have use it to share just a little with my 4 year old, because yes kids do pick up on what you say and the media you consume. NPR has promped more than a few questions.

I also feel for the author. It's hard to correct your child when they make inappropriate comments when you know you feel the exact same way. Many people feel a lot of anger, frustration, and sadness towards the current administration. And not everyone was behind the admin and thought things were well handled on 9/11, even in the moment.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | February 6, 2007 9:35 AM

Of course this has turned partisan- the blog itself was partisan!

Leslie and the author clearly knew what they were getting into today...

Posted by: Partisanship | February 6, 2007 9:39 AM

It depends. You have to know your own child, what they can handle...and when they can handle it.

Posted by: TO; bookworm mom | February 6, 2007 9:40 AM

Wow! I expected some feedback....

What I've always liked about blogs is the ability to have a conversation. So, here's an attempt.

The column was indeed meant to point out the power of words. I'm a bad parent for not jumping all over him for using the word? Maybe. But, as some of you have mentioned, he was expressing himself in a rather powerful way.

Does he have respect for others, including leaders? Yes. He has great respect for soldiers but seems confused as to why they are dying. Did he draw these conclusions because I go around the house ranting about Bush all day? Hardly. No, we don't live at DNC headquarters. That was what struck me most about the comment. He came to this conclusion on his own -- based on his own reading of the newspaper, watching television, absorbing the world around him. Believe it or not.

Am I biased in saying the U.S. lost an opportunity to make things better? Well, there are certainly those who will make that argument. But, seems there is enough fuel in these comments -- no need to get into a political debate as to the tremendous international upgrade in the reputation of the U.S. since 9/11.

Thanks for reading.

Steve

Posted by: The Author | February 6, 2007 9:42 AM


Nice topic.

My thinking has evolved on this. Initially I shielded my kids from exposure/influence on news. We get all of our news from our own online reading (mainly the post) and from a sedate voice-only NPR in the background (though we've occasionally had to snap that off, as we awake groggily to some story about, say, that 16yo girl in the Warren Jeffs cult testifying about the first night of her forced marriage . . . ack!) Our kids are aware that we read and listen to news, but they don't get that vivid immersion into the graphic, violent, or hateful/confrontational emotion-stirring that TV coverage brings --- its drumbeat of urgency and drama can paralyze adults, much less kids.

We had also totally refrained from any political comment in kid earshot, figuring that young kids can't think critically on political issues and will just proudly parrot their parents' views, and that it's an abuse of power to indoctrinate onto one partisan side people who can't yet think the issues through for themselves. I'm happy just to lay the foundations for critical thinking generally, then let them come to their own opinions when they're old enough.

But we were really shocked when during the 2004 campaign my daughter's 2nd grade class had a mock election (we heard about it after the fact). At first I thought it was a horrible idea, that any opinions these kids had must just be ill-informed echoes of their parents, and that by forcing a popularity poll of their opinions it would just marginalize some kids into trying to defend an opinion they had no real basis to defend, other than my-dad-says-so-and-he's really-smart! But it seemed to turn out ok --- the kids are already doing internet research at school starting in 2nd grade, so they had some foundations. I asked my dd whom she voted for and why, and her reasoning, though simplistic, was sound (she voted against Bush because he started a war and he didn't listen to people). When I asked her how she'd learned about that, she said she'd heard people talking about it on the radio. (and before you say that NPR news is indoctrination, let's end it civilly and agree to disagree, my long experience of it as a balanced and articulate source for many reasoned points of view is unlikely to be dissuaded by partisan bluster). I also told her that these issues were complicated and often caused people to have angry arguments, and that smart and honest people could still have different opinions.

At that point she asked what our opinions were and we did tell them to her. More important than telling her whom we supported was talking about the character flaws that led us to our opinion, how we felt the president wasn't being a responsible leader, wasn't doing the hard work to learn and to make thoughtful decisions, to have an open mind and to treat all Americans as equally valued, and to be honest in evaluating the whole truth and making fair and honest arguments. And that opened a door, because she did develop some strong opinions and started expressing them to us. Mostly what that mock election did was set her up for a big disappointment, when the country failed to vote the way her elementary class did!

Later her third grade class had to do a writing assignment about Katrina, again something that surprised me because we don't expose our kids to endless news of natural disaster, to wallow in images/stories of human tragedy and to worry what might befall them. Before that she was just aware of Katrina due to fund-raisers her school had, one for cash and one for books to restock a sister school library. Supporting that only required telling her a very simple fact, a hurricane happened and destroyed many people's houses and schools and they need help and money to build them back. But for the writing assignment we had to find real news coverage for her to read, to form a basis to answer questions --- fortunately the Washington Post Kidspost pages were quite good for that.

I've blathered on enough. Even if you try to shelter your kids from news, it will come around and find you, if nowhere else than from the schools. But the schools and sites like the kidspost also let kids start processing news in a meaningful way that's not just parent-indoctrination . . . And I know others disagree with me about how much is indoctrination and how much is teaching the parents' values . . . there's room for both and as in everything else we all hope and trust parents recognize their great power and don't abuse it, in shaping their kids' opinions and reasoning skills . . .

Posted by: KB | February 6, 2007 9:42 AM

I would lighten up on Steve about the f-word thing. His son's comments indicate that he (the son) knows full well the gravity and strength of the word. I don't know that it matters that he wants to apply it to George Bush -- he certainly wouldn't be the first, though perhaps among the younger.

I'm torn because a part of me does feel the position of president should be respected regardless of who's president, but on the other hand, there have definitely been men who are not worthy of respect who've held the office. So I'm not sure how to deal with that subject when it comes up. I'm sure I'll figure it out, just like other posters have done.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 6, 2007 9:43 AM

Oh, for heaven's sake. Anybody who thinks that kids' ideas about politics come only from their parents is naive.

All kids these days are exposed to multiple sources of information, from TV to computer games to discussions in class to -- most especially -- other kids. This is much more the case today than when I was a kid -- and it was definitely true back then.

I was nine during the '64 election, and I clearly remember kids in my neighborhood back then taking sides; in fact, one local group of slightly-older kids surrounded my friends and me and wouldn't let us go until we said we were for Goldwater.

I have no idea what Steve Fox has or has not said to his son about Bush, but immediately blaming Fox for his son's views makes no sense to me, given what I know -- and what we all should know -- about kids.

Posted by: DMS | February 6, 2007 9:43 AM

Does anyone here remember the late Samantha Smith, the little girl who was about 8 or so when he wrote to the Russian leader about peace? Sometimes, children can be precocious about some things and blissfully ignorant about others. Hence the last two sentences of the blog today.

FWIW, I thought the f-word was referring to a curse. It's obvious that these days it's beginning to mean something else.

Also, can we please not let this discussion degenerate into political snarling?

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | February 6, 2007 9:43 AM

'About President Bush'

very well said, thank you. I think Bush's
problem as a leader is that he ignores opinions of those who don't agree with him (or Cheney).

Posted by: experienced mom | February 6, 2007 9:44 AM

Of course this has turned partisan- the blog itself was partisan!

Leslie and the author clearly knew what they were getting into today...

---

I agree with Partisanship. Leslie and the author write for a living -- they know what they are doing. I'm sure Steve is capable of writing a blog about how to appropriately discuss 9/11 with his son --without even delving into politics. He chose to obscure the message about discussing tragedy with a child.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | February 6, 2007 9:46 AM

Dotted wrote:

"Further, I spent a lot of time teaching my kids to think for themselves, even at an early age, rather than parrot their parents (say that out loud three time real fast, I dare you)."

I spend quite a bit of time on this too, it should not be a conservative or liberal issue - just a parenting issue. My kids come home saying all kinds of junk - about entertainers, politicians, Redskins football players (there is quite a bit of disagreement among 8 year olds about players strengths and weaknesses, funny but true), anything under the sun. Parents have to be a filter not an indoctrinator. Teaching values, morals and basic respect go a long way, eventually they can filter things on their own.

To Leslie: this is deteriorating into a political discussion, not sure if that is what you intended. If you want to debate the war, 9/11, President Bush - just do so rather than mask it in guest blog on teaching children about historic events. Another option might be allowing someone from the other end of the political spectrum as a counterpoint.

Army Brat: great post and you have a great father.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 9:46 AM

"Nowhere in the conversation did you include the East v West struggle, religious zealotry. It's not just about them hating us- it's a deeply rooted cultural and religious based problem."

This also struck me as irresponsible.
The only thing his son walked away with was that a lot of people hate the US and planes were hijacked and 5000 people died.

The author plainly admits that his son thinks in a very black and white manner. Hmm- just like Bush!! So he's fine with absolutes as long as it's directed against Bush??

a huge problem with his presidency is his black and white way of thinking.

A much more useful tool for our kids is to see that there is no absolute- start those reasoning skills. It's not always X or Y- sometimes it's XYZ all mixed together. Critical thinking skills are much more valuable than "I hate Bush- f*cker"

Talk about breeding INTOLERANCE!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 9:46 AM

I, too, am a Democrat with some pretty strong anti-Bush leanings, but this blog is not only absurd but I fear that it sends the wrong message to the next generation. 9-11 was a terrible day, and one that I hope will be remembered and learned from, but it is very important for parents to get a hold on their emotions before they talk to their children about topics with this much emotional weight. Channeling your fear and hatred to your children will do nothing to change our nation or how the rest of the world views us, and it will never lead to the "better" world the blogger wishes for.

Posted by: scr | February 6, 2007 9:47 AM

I also thought the F-word was refering to a curse. Does it mean something else in this context? I can't imagine that he was uttering an anti-gay epitath.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | February 6, 2007 9:49 AM

i too would like to request that both sides of the debate step back from the edge & breathe. let's look at the larger question - how do we tell children about the awful things that happen in the world? how do you balance the desire to keep them safe from the ugliness out in the world vs keeping them informed? how much of the "truth" do you tell them?

i remember watching the news when i was about 10 years old. my friends thought that i was strange because i wanted to know what was going on. they weren't interested in the news in the slightest. anybody remember when jim vance first came to channel 4? now, he's the stately elder newscaster....

Posted by: quark | February 6, 2007 9:51 AM

Jokester your last couple of jokes are not funny.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 9:56 AM

Bravo, Stacey! Well said, and well handled. I feel for what you went through.
I agree it's an important topic. It's also true that kids hear -- and absorb -- much more than we give them credit for.
My barely 3 year old asks about global warming; I'm sure by 8 he'll be pretty savvy about political questions. And yes, he gets it at home, so some might consider him a "billboard for our politics". He'll be a well informed, conversant child because dinner conversation at our house covers a full range of topics and we have no intention of hiding our points of view from him.
Having said that, however, we must constantly be careful of *how* we say things. I've dialed back my language considerably when driving with him in the car, but am still working at it even more, because even without profanity, some things just shouldn't be said by a 3 year old. Political conversation doesn't have the same tenor at our house, but I'm sure it does in some. The decisions that are being made in the country are hugely important and should not be glossed over with minimal tepid debate out of some misguided sense of "respect".

Posted by: to Stacey | February 6, 2007 9:58 AM

"He came to this conclusion on his own -- based on his own reading of the newspaper, watching television, absorbing the world around him. Believe it or not."

I would say not. And welcome back jokester!

Posted by: bob | February 6, 2007 9:59 AM

My son is 9 and has said he thinks Bush is a bad president - an opinion he picked up from the news of the war/other kids more than me - he is capable of forming his own opinions. He knows I am a Democrat, but I have actually not criticized the president, only told him why I vote Democrat (policies/beliefs).
As for the F word, Steve makes clear that they have discussed the use of it - but the focus of the discussion/his sons emotion made it not the isssue at that time. Same with the use of the word hate. They can discuss that later, the issue was 9/11 and terrorism in general. Better to reassure/discuss now, and go back to the use of words later.
My 9 year knows about 9/11 but we had a discussion recently about the Pennsylvania crash, and how some brave people might have saved his grandparents, who live 5 blocks from the Capitol.
He wants to watch the news and I am constantly trying to explain things to him in a truthful but not frightening way. I watch BBC world news, which is factual but not sensationalistic.

Posted by: jessker 2 | February 6, 2007 10:00 AM

"I'm sure by 8 he'll be pretty savvy about political questions... He'll be a well informed, conversant child because dinner conversation at our house covers a full range of topics..."

I'll bet this kid is going to wind up telling the best fart jokes.

Posted by: no pressure, kid | February 6, 2007 10:02 AM

""I'm sure by 8 he'll be pretty savvy about political questions... He'll be a well informed, conversant child because dinner conversation at our house covers a full range of topics..."

I'll bet this kid is going to wind up telling the best fart jokes."

LOL! Ain't that the truth. Boy, don't aim too high with that one. Eight year olds aren't supposed to be well informed and conversant. This is a child, not a mini me doll.

Posted by: Righto | February 6, 2007 10:06 AM

I don't understand why so many people don't belive that children pick up information and form their own opinions at an early age. Every since I started reading at 4, my mom has joked that I read everything I can get my hands on even if the only thing available is a catalogue.

My son is 4 and starting to learn to read. Even with out knowing all the words he consumes books. By 8 I have no doubt that he will be skilled enough to digest newspapers and news magazines. He already shows signs of forming his own opinions on everything from Broccoli to homelessness (living in the D.C. area it's impossible to avoid, though I'm not sure I would want to).

Kids differ drastically. Just because one child is still learning to read at 8 or shows little interest in politics at 8 doesn't mean that is true of every child.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | February 6, 2007 10:07 AM

Something ate my post, so I'm trying again:

All this talk about kids and words reminds me of when I was in 6th grade and I was furious with an elderly nun at my school. She told someone that I was a something or other (I can't remember the word; she was referring to me being defiant, disrespectful or disobidient, basically). A classmate overheard it and told me, "Sister so and so said you were ____________." I thought of a word that I had heard, not at home but from other children, that sounded wonderfully bad. I didn't even know the meaning of this word, but that didn't stop me from retorting, "Well, then Sister so and so is a wh*re!"

You should have seen the little girl's reaction. She gasped like she was drawing her last breath. Her mouth was one big O. Her eyes were like saucers.

"What?!" I didn't even pretend bravado.

"If Sister heard you say that, she'd smack your face."

"Why?!"

She told me why.

Whoopsie.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | February 6, 2007 10:07 AM

Speaking of sheltering children, am I the only one who tells their pre-schoolers that the people by Key Bridge are holding signs that say "Have a nice day."

Posted by: Arington Dad | February 6, 2007 10:09 AM

Army Brat: Thanks for that. It is good to see the real human side of the nameless faceless bloggers on the 'net.

Your father sounds like an exceptional man.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 10:09 AM

Hm, my second post already today. After my somewhat ranting post above, I spoke with my husband, the one who was in Iraq. He immediately suggested I post again about his greatest fear. As I mentioned, our oldest son was 8 when 9/11 happened. He's now in middle school. We've been at war in Iraq and Afghanistan for 5 years now. Do we really believe that this hostility will be over in 5 more years? I seriously doubt so. My son will be 18 and subject to the draft in 5 years. Sobering, frightening, unacceptable to think that HE may be the one still fighting this war. My husband was fortunate, he has many effects of his time in Iraq but he came home, was not physically injured, resigned his commission and is out of the military. But his fear of being recalled still is there. And his fear of our son being drafted is very, very real.

Posted by: Stacey | February 6, 2007 10:13 AM

I see the anti-intellectual forces are out in full. Others don't see being well informed as pressure -- it's a state of being curious about the world around us. A characteristic unfamiliar to GWB and minions, I suppose.

Posted by: to no pressure and righto | February 6, 2007 10:13 AM

Arlington Dad,

My preschoolers go to preschool in the city near where I work and they see the homless every day. Even if I told them the signs said "Have a nice day", it wouldn't stop their questions about the blankets, the shopping carts, etc.

I would rather them hear from me about homelessness so I can instill compassion than hear it from someone else who is not compassionate.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | February 6, 2007 10:14 AM

And his fear of our son being drafted is very, very real.

Posted by: Stacey | February 6, 2007 10:13 AM


Stacey,
We don't have a draft in this country.

Posted by: DC lurker | February 6, 2007 10:15 AM

What draft?

Posted by: to Stacey | February 6, 2007 10:15 AM

You know, every time I read crap like this I reflexively want to vote Repbulican (and I hate Republicans almost as I hate Democrats). This is the usual, blame America, blame Bush crap that I always hear from liberals. I'm tired of the ignorant assumption that if we were just nice to the Muslim extremists they'd be nice to us, so it must be our fault crap.

Posted by: Tom | February 6, 2007 10:16 AM

I see the anti-intellectual forces are out in full. Others don't see being well informed as pressure -- it's a state of being curious about the world around us. A characteristic unfamiliar to GWB and minions, I suppose.

---

Being well-informed is important, it's the arrogance and presumptuousness we are mocking.

Posted by: no pressure, kid | February 6, 2007 10:17 AM

This is what I do not understand about the Pro-War group. Why support a war that was entered into on false terms (WMDs) and stay there after 2nd objective (remove Hussein) has been accoplished, just so more troops can die? How is that supporting our troops? How is wanting to bring them home to prevent more American deaths 'against the troops'? Also, the term 'cutting and running' or run away, as you put it, what exactly does that mean? What qualifies 'cutting and running' rather than leaving an situation that has devolved into Civil War, and the continued presence of American soldiers only serves to enrage and encourage people to attack them, essentially creating more terrorists by the mere presence of Americans? At what point do you deem it would be okay to remove American troops, when all terrorists have surrendered? What is the end point, when does America win? And what is it that has been won? How many more young American soldiers and Iraqi civilians have to die before this is accomplished, according to you? And if you are so against soldiers leaving Iraq, why don't you volunteer?

Back on topic, I think that the Dad did a good job talking to his child. Obviously, Palestine and Israel were probably topics in the book, as well as the war in Iraq and Bush's handling of the war, prompting the questions from the child. The parent is free to express his views to his child, or not if he so chooses, and who is anyone else to criticize him?

Posted by: To SoMD | February 6, 2007 10:18 AM

I find it interesting that so many people are offended that as parents, we may exert influence over our children's political sentiments. Why is that so strange? We certainly exert influence over them in many other spheres, including religion, moral values, etc. Why should politics be any different? Our political positions grow from our particular philosophies, moral values, and even our religious beliefs. It is only natural that as parents, we should share this with our children.

Of course, we should also be prepared for the day when our children reject one or more of these things. I guess that while it is natural to share our values and beliefs with our kids, it is just as important to give them a foundation for critical thinking, so that when they begin to make their own choices and decisions, they will be founded on critical thought rather than blind dogma.

Posted by: Emily | February 6, 2007 10:19 AM

There is nothing wrong with our kids picking up how we feel about the world. What, we aren't supposed to express opinions in the house when they might hear? That would be ridiculous. Go ahead, teach them what you believe. Also teach them that people will have different viewpoints and that it's ok for them to form a different opinion. I don't see anything wrong with what Steve told his son. I think he approached a difficult subject very well.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 10:24 AM

Bad title.

When I saw the headline, I figured it was about a real 9/11 dad. Someone who lost their wife, the mother of their child/children at the WTC, PA crash, or the Pentagon. Someone that now "balances" raising the child/children with work and trying to move on, yet not forget at the same time, and trying to get the child to understand what it's all about.

Sorry I read it and the rest of these comments!

Posted by: Columbia, MD | February 6, 2007 10:24 AM

We have thousands of miliary members on "stop loss." We have reservists on active duty for years. There are huge financial "bonuses" being offered to potential military recruits but the military is woefully understaffed. Folks who did their 20 years for the military are being recalled to active duty. We may not call it a "draft" but we're sure not far away. I don't see a future without a draft if we're being at all realistic.

Posted by: Stacey | February 6, 2007 10:25 AM

How do you tell children about other bad things such as divorce, death of a loved one or a pet, arrest of a loved one? I feel sorry for the children of the astronaut who was arrested for attempted kidnapping, among other things.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 10:25 AM

If you are arguing that Steve is biased and therefore WaPo is biased (or vice versa), is that truly a defensible position?

Does that not easily open up a discussion of whether Cheney/Bush are "biased" towards oil and "biased" towards conquest of middle eastern lands rich in oil?

Or, do Arlington Dad and others argue that Bush/Cheney are magically able to put aside their personal feelings & business interests, while the author WHOM YOU'VE NEVER MET OR SEEN QUOTED BEFORE must be biased an unable to do his job without the influence of his own politics.

Gotcha. Conservatives can put aside their biases and financial interests without issue. Progressives are universally unable to do that. Hmmm.

That logic only makes sense to people who could stand to listen to the Hannity/Coulter/Limbaugh set in the first place.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 10:26 AM

"I think Bush is an idiot too. I didn't vote for him, but this country did. That's the system."

Actually, the country didn't vote for him. The Supreme Court appointed him.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 10:28 AM

No, Master B, they will not rest until THEY are dead.

Posted by: Righto | February 6, 2007 10:28 AM

logic has no place on this blog!

Posted by: to 10:26 | February 6, 2007 10:30 AM

We may not have an active draft right this minute, but Stacy is right: when her son hits 18, he will have to register for selective service. And that means that if/when the draft comes back, he'll be down on the rolls. There is no way for him to avoid this if he wants to renew hi driver's license, apply for financial aid, vote, or do any number of other things. Stacy, and the parent of any son, has a right to be concerned. Their children's names are down, and should the draft go back into effect, they will be called.

Posted by: selective service | February 6, 2007 10:32 AM

"I don't see a future without a draft if we're being at all realistic."

Rep. Rangel has again introduced a "Universal National Service Act of 2007" H.R. 393.

He introduced similar legislation a few years ago. He was so sure that this legislation was necessary that he voted AGAINST it when it was brought up for a vote before the 2004 election.

The Democratic legislators are the only ones speaking of a draft.

Posted by: to Stacey | February 6, 2007 10:33 AM

Gosh, this is why I can't stand to be a Democrat.

This war was NOT about oil. If it was about oil for anyone- try the French or Russians. THEY were the ones who had oil contracts in Iraq before the war.

We are not getting any oil from Iraq to bring to the US.

Posted by: NOT OIL!!! | February 6, 2007 10:34 AM

To all you folks who keep harping on Steve Fox's and WaPo's liberal bent --

If you dislike WaPo so much, why do you read it?

It's like going to Newcastle and telling people you hate coal.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 10:39 AM

Given that there are already over a hundred posts on this blog, my comment will be totally lost in the vitrol. Still, for the sake of the author, I need to make it:

I liked the blog entry. I liked that it demonstrates that children do not live in a bubble. Smart kids will hear things, pick up books, ask questions, make connections, and form opinions, and they'll do all these things in direct defiance of parental "protection".

It seems important to remind people that kids live in this world too. They have ideas about it, and fears, and hopes.

Everyone who's judging the author for having "allowed" such an idea as disrespect for the president to penetrate an eight-year-old's world, well, it doesn't seem to me like you're doing your little hothouse flower any favors by isolating them from the reality.

Cheers Mr Fox.

Posted by: WDC | February 6, 2007 10:39 AM

Does that not easily open up a discussion of whether Cheney/Bush are "biased" towards oil and "biased" towards conquest of middle eastern lands rich in oil?

Given our dependance on a secure supply of oil, is it not in the national interest to ensure that the supply is secure?

If you say no, I hope that you have parked your SUV and walk everywhere. Don't sell it or you would be just as guilty as you would enable others to use more gasoline.

Posted by: Oil, just don't use it | February 6, 2007 10:39 AM

If you dislike WaPo so much, why do you read it?

It is called "Know your enemy."

Posted by: the original anon | February 6, 2007 10:41 AM

"Parents have to be a filter not an indoctrinator. Teaching values, morals and basic respect go a long way, eventually they can filter things on their own."

cmac --

So true. But, when your kids are teenagers in a few years, will you attempt to alter or influence any liberal views they may espouse?

Given your extremely right-wing attitudes, how far will your tolerance go?

Posted by: usuallylurking | February 6, 2007 10:45 AM

If you are arguing that Steve is biased and therefore WaPo is biased (or vice versa), is that truly a defensible position?

Does that not easily open up a discussion of whether Cheney/Bush are "biased" towards oil and "biased" towards conquest of middle eastern lands rich in oil?

---

No, it doesn't anon poster.

Posted by: Arington Dad | February 6, 2007 10:45 AM


Leslie, can you have some of the virulent posts casting all Muslims as violent, or wholesale slaughter of whole populations of Muslims as 'funny,' removed?

I'm an Army brat, too. I spent two years of my childhood in a Muslim country, a US ally, rich in kind-hearted hospitality, Western ambitions, ambiguous history . . . my cousins, also Army brats, spent a shorter time in a different Muslim country, then were evacuated a month before it erupted in the Iranian hostage crisis . . . such diferent experiences . . . the Muslim world is obviously a vast and diverse one, with pockets greatly supportive of Western and humanitarian values, and pockets of violent fundamentalist zeal . . . we do nothing but fuel the violent xenophobic minority by acting as provincial xenophobes ourselves, and tarring all Muslims with the acts of an extreme fringe . . .

Posted by: KB | February 6, 2007 10:45 AM

"I'm torn because a part of me does feel the position of president should be respected regardless of who's president, but on the other hand, there have definitely been men who are not worthy of respect who've held the office. So I'm not sure how to deal with that subject when it comes up. I'm sure I'll figure it out, just like other posters have done."

I am not going to quibble over whether the position of the president should be respected, even if you don't respect the actual individual. I think that is semantics to a certain degree. But I do think that regardless of what you think of the leaders in our country, it is important to respect the democratic process, and the process which our constitution has outlined in terms of electing our leaders. Respect for this process allows our government to exist peacefully. Granted, it allowed Bush to become president during his first term, amidst a great deal of uncertainty in terms of the electoral vote, but at least the process was peaceful and orderly. We did not go to civil war. The same democratic process allowed the congress to go democratic last year. What I love about the USA is its democratic process, and how the people, even when their side loses an election, peacefully accept the authority of the new leader. And I also love that we have the right to scourge our leaders in the press, criticize them, praise them, question them, look into their pasts, etc. And still, they retain their positions until the next election comes along, and when it does, we accept the results of the election and keep going. This, I think, is what makes America great and unique.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 10:46 AM

FYI "To SoMD" I am a registered member of the Democratic Party and have been since 1982. Unlike most of my party I am capable of independent thought and vote for the best candidate every election. I am NOT a vote-the-party line brain-dead idiot. Try it sometime, it may be enlightening.

Posted by: SoMD | February 6, 2007 10:47 AM

"anti-gay epitath"

Bookworm Mom --

Would that be "epithet"?

Be careful about advertising your literacy, and watch those malapropisms!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 10:50 AM

To the anon poster at 10:46.

Well said. I completely agree.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | February 6, 2007 10:51 AM

Really dumb topic today.

Posted by: Rob | February 6, 2007 10:52 AM

Ok,

For those with older/young adult kids- how did you handle the Clinton/Lewinsky fluid on the Gap dress situation?
I'm 27 (was 12-13 during this time) and so I, of course, felt very cosmopolitan and mature and thought I knew it all...In retrospect I handled it well and, yes, I still thought of oral sex as sex (thanks to my parents) And the meaning of "is" and the details of the hearings will be forever burned into memory!

So how did you handle telling your kids about bl*w jobs, etc during that time?

Posted by: Clinton/Lewinsky BJs | February 6, 2007 10:57 AM

Master Bayter, your only contribution today is to make repetitive posts, approx. every 20 minutes, ranting about politics and having zero to do with tough parenting issues.

Steve responded to questions from his son. He didn't raise the topic of 9/11. In our house, we would have responded differently. Nonetheless, the point of the blog is, when your child brings home a book or raises an issue that is complex or serious or tragic or all three - how do you respond to it and to what extent do you try to shape your child's opinions about it? Our child has asked about individual homeless gentlemen and homelessness, generally, since he turned 3. He has prayed for the homeless and for our soldiers since he started praying his own prayers with his own words. (We pray together aloud at bedtime so the content of each our prayers is familiar to the other.) His concern and compassion have caused his father and I to be more sensitive to this issue and to consider positive ways in which to direct our son's concerns. The prevention of homelessness has become a family issue and one to which we now devote our most precious resource - our time. Thank God for our son's compassion and sensitivity.

Politics turns on values - what are our private and public priorities? how do we use our private and our public money to express those priorities? By 8, we are teaching our children about compassion, about fiscal discipline, about security, about everything that defines political values -- except party labels, which are not helpful in the slightest. Our family holds certain values dear and we explain the basis of our political opinions to our kids in a way that gives them a roadmap for how we reached our conclusion, and where the forks in the road are that would have led to a different conclusion. We also teach that reasonable, intelligent, people committed to the security of our great nation disagree on what our next step should be. Chuck Hagel and John McCain come to mind.

Being a thoughtful parent requires more than the knee-jerk comments of cmac or Master Bayter.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 10:57 AM

I'm an avid reader but a terrible speller - I'm sorry I didn't double ckeck that spell checker gave me back the wrong word - I was rushing.

Posted by: Bookworm Mom | February 6, 2007 10:58 AM

"Really dumb topic today."

I think I have to agree with you ...

9/11 ... work ... family ... balance ???

I don't really get it.

Posted by: lindab | February 6, 2007 10:58 AM

Leslie,

Could the posts from "Master Bayter" be removed?

That moniker is stupid.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 10:59 AM

Two things strike me in this article:
1) My 9 year old son too says he hates Bush and we never talk politics at home. He's hearing this in school and is forming his own opinion based on a peer group-which I find interesting. I think 8 year olds are too young to be criticized for not respecting the "leader" because to them, the leader is made up of their parents and sometimes teachers. The concept of patriotism hasn't been formed. Their allegiance is to their parents at this point, so no need to blast away on that.
2) The adult's ignorance of foreign perception of America. To say that a lot of people hated us before and that now we know how many people hate us boggles my mind. Based on what? This is where a little bit of knowledge can do a lot of damage. Foreigners, for the vast majority, embrace America, American values and principles and respect us. Foreigners tend to have issues with US foreign policy. The distinction is important.

Posted by: Jose | February 6, 2007 11:00 AM

Could the posts from "Master Bayter" be removed?

That moniker is stupid.

--

Before I go back to work, I'd like to second that motion.

Posted by: lindab | February 6, 2007 11:00 AM

Leslie,

I can't believe that the Washington Post is leaving all the tasteless Muslim jokes on the website. They are in poor taste and are offensive to some Muslims.

Posted by: Embarrassed regular | February 6, 2007 11:01 AM

"Parents, your children listen to you MUCH MORE than you realize. I know that most of us want to raise our children with our beliefs and values, but rational discourse about the other side(s) is not a bad thing."

These comments are directed to all the posters like this who have some problem with parents influencing or whatever their child's beliefs . . .

Gimme a break! Of course parents influence their children's thoughts and give them their biased perception of issues. This is true for anyone. This is ESPECIALLY true in the case of religion --indoctrinate them early and make clear that any opposing belief is wrong. Growing up in a particular religion that I will not name, I experienced this first-hand. But, b/c we are talking politics (let's be clear, liberal political views) now that is somehow off limits?

Rational discussion of issues from both POV's is a worthy goal. One I hope to aspire to achieve. However, I will not hide my political convictions from my kids.

And, also, I have to say that the second I read this blog entry I knew the liberal media conspiracy theorists would be out in full force today. And, I was right. So, you're offended (or whatever) that this person has expressed his own personal views re: Bush, 911, etc. in his own personal entry? Duly noted. May I suggest that if you would like your own views out there in the same manner. . . write your own entry and submit it.

Posted by: JS | February 6, 2007 11:01 AM

Um, Yes, it does.

(we could do this all day.)

Posted by: To Arlington Dad | February 6, 2007 11:04 AM

"When I saw the headline, I figured it was about a real 9/11 dad. Someone who lost their wife, the mother of their child/children at the WTC, PA crash, or the Pentagon."

Columbia, MD --

So you'd prefer that the blogger have experienced a horrible tragedy? That would make the article more fun to read?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 11:05 AM

For the politically active folks on the blog today, how do you handle it when your kid comes home with views that are opposed to yours? If you're a Republican, suppose that a neighbor kid has convinced him that Bush is needlessly murdering soldiers. If you're pro-choice, suppose another child has convinced her that abortion murders helpless babies. How much do you argue? Is there a point where you resort to the "this is my house and you will follow my values" rule? How important to you is it that your kids agree with you?

Posted by: Tom T. | February 6, 2007 11:06 AM

Yes, let's pad the streets so no one ever falls and gets hurt and let's make very sure that no one is ever offended. In fact I propose an ammendment to the Constitution - the right to never ever be upset or offended by something someone else thinks or says. Is there a second on the motion?

Posted by: To Embarrassed regular | February 6, 2007 11:06 AM

"I'm 27 (was 12-13 during this time)."

If you are 27, you were born in 1979 yes? The Clinton/Lewinsky episode story broke in 1998. That would make you 19, not 12-13. When you were 12-13, Clinton was "not inhaling." That made it interesting to discuss marijuana with kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 11:06 AM

"I can't believe that the Washington Post is leaving all the tasteless Muslim jokes on the website. They are in poor taste and are offensive to some Muslims."

Free speech - learn it, live it, love it.


Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 11:07 AM

"1) My 9 year old son too says he hates Bush and we never talk politics at home. He's hearing this in school and is forming his own opinion based on a peer group-which I find interesting. I think 8 year olds are too young to be criticized for not respecting the "leader" because to them, the leader is made up of their parents and sometimes teachers. The concept of patriotism hasn't been formed. Their allegiance is to their parents at this point, so no need to blast away on that."


Jose- I completely disagree. if their minds are sharp enough and inquisitive enough to form an opinion about the president and policy then learning respect for your country and an office should not be "too much" for them to handle.

The concept of patriotism is probably more ingrained in them than those fleeting feelings toward Bush. Discussions of politics, war, our foriegn friends, should include a healthy dose of what country is all about.

it's a powerful emotion and what moved us all to tears each time we heard the Star Spangled Banner for months after 9/11. It's not something one is taught- it is a feeling toward our country.

8 or 9 is in no way too young to respect the foundations of this country.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 11:07 AM

//They are in poor taste and are offensive to some Muslims. //

yep! you certainly don't want to offend any muslims. you know what happens when you do..... !!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 11:07 AM

To think that an 8 yo is incapable of forming opinions of people and world events is foolishness. While they may not have the nuanced (or not-so nuanced) opinions of an adult, still they take in the world around them.

When I was an 8 yo, I was very much aware the war in Viet Nam and the Cold War. I also remember that Communists were to be despised. I didn't know the name of the President, but I did know that he was to be respected.

Now, that I'm older, I realize that I also had a black-and-white outlook on the world. Nonetheless, I was aware of the local, national and world events and fit them, accordingly, into my 8 yo understanding of the world.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 11:10 AM

Two more thoughts - first, I think we can teach respect for the office of the president and for our leaders but that we can also teach our children to think critically and question authority when it's appropriate. I don't see these as mutually exclusive. For my children, who will not recall a childhood without war and international crisis, I believe this is critical.

Second, I am struck by the comments about young children being aware of homelessness and misfortune. My sons were very concerned about the children whose parents were killed on 9/11. In the larger political debate, I also think it is important to talk about the effects of 9/11 and the war on those families for whom there is a direct and tragic impact. Please don't misinterpret my earlier comments about the war(s) and the draft and unsupportive of those men, women, children and families who are affected by these issues. Maybe we should listen to our children and their concerns a bit more.

Posted by: Stacey | February 6, 2007 11:12 AM

Too bad that Americans didn't show their respect for the office of president by voting Bush out in 2004.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 11:12 AM

First of all, I NEVER know what I'm getting into on this blog.

Second, to me Steve's essay is all about balance between work and home. A major topic for the past two years at my house has been the choices of working and stay-at-home moms. How could my kids not pick up on the central focus of my daily work? How could Steve's son NOT be interested in politics and international events?

As parents we try to shield and shape our kids. But invariably we end up warping them. Sometimes in good ways, sometimes in bad ways. It's part of being a passionate parent.

Posted by: Leslie | February 6, 2007 11:15 AM

I agree with all the requests to remove the tasteless and offensive Muslim jokes. They are blatantly racist. WaPo, do the decent thing and remove these awful posts.

Posted by: Emily | February 6, 2007 11:16 AM

I was in undergrad on 9/11, and could see the smoke from the Pentagon when it happened. I watched the WTC get hit the first time, ran to my friend's room down the hall and turned on her TV in time to watch the second plane hit. While I don't have children yet, I do plan to tell hold on to the emotions I felt that day, and the emotions I've had since, regarding US foreign policy. I liken it to my mother sharing her thoughts with me about the day JFK was shot (it was her 8th birthday) or the day someone walked on the Moon. Those two events have huge meaning to me because she shared her visceral response to them with me when I was a very young girl.

We can't shelter kids. But we can definitely share our experiences. Not doing so is simply a disservice to them and to us.

Posted by: K in DC | February 6, 2007 11:18 AM

To anonymous 11:07 (both of you!)

This is not an entirely "free" forum. You may want to use this forum to trumpet your worst, most ignorant, most bellicose, most racist thoughts, but the Post's own rules for blog posting state

>You may not post content that degrades others on >the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, >national origin, religion, sexual preference, >disability or other classification. Epithets and >other language intended to intimidate or to >incite violence will not be tolerated.

You're "free" to find another forum . . . one where we regulars needn't to feel complicit in your hate-mongering, just because we don't rise up to disavow each instance.

Posted by: KB | February 6, 2007 11:19 AM

Free speech - learn it, live it, love it.


Yes, as long as they are not about a black crack baby, right.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 11:20 AM

yah, let's remove all the posts that don't comply with our standards of niceness.
we gotta shield the little boys and girls who read this blog!

Posted by: boobee | February 6, 2007 11:21 AM

"User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site"

that's about 60% of the posts. please remove them.

"Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed"

that's another 20%. please remove.

i think only 10% of the posts really qualify if you strictly enforce all the rules you state.
warning: percentages are approximate.

Posted by: WaPo Rules | February 6, 2007 11:24 AM

Tom T. posted:

"Is there a point where you resort to the "this is my house and you will follow my values" rule? How important to you is it that your kids agree with you?"


If the basis for your beliefs with respect to issues as important as abortion/abortion rights are so insufficiently persuasive that you can't convince your kids of the correctness of your stance without resorting to parental fiat, perhaps you need to rethink whether your beliefs are your beliefs or something you picked up from a party platform or an old girlfriend/boyfriend along the way to adulthood. If you know why you believe what you believe, you owe it to your kids to explain the foundation for those beliefs, and to explain, as well, any weakness in your position.

This is my house when it comes to house rules. We set the curfew. We set the standard for acceptable language and acceptable ways to express disagreement. We set the rules for honor, integrity, a sense of duty and law-abiding behavior. We expect patriotism. We expect that if you love our country, you want the best for it and you will care and inform yourself about current events, party platforms, what the policy differences and fiscal approaches between political opponents means. You will support our troops. Supporting our troops means you have a personal responsibility to consider and evaluate the impact on those troops of the decisions of the Commander in Chief and the Pentagon, and to attend closely to competing views expressed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Opinions, and the basis for them, if expressed in a manner respectful of the person with whom you're debating have a core place in our household. We are not Matlin and Carville, by any means, but my husband and I are not in complete agreement on, for instance, Israel/Palestine issues. Neither of us believes that the other's position is right and both of us absolutely believe that getting it right matters. As a result, our kids have learned alot about how to conduct a passionate, informed debate on big issues and not cross the line of denigrating comments along the lines of "only an uninformed ignorant follower of ____ would think X".

Knowing we have young witnesses causes us to take great care with the way in which we express our political disagreements. It's a good lesson for us all.

moxiemom, your 8:06 point was dead-on.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 11:24 AM

Hmm - I would have to say I tend to err on the sheltering side, as opposed to say, the too much information side. We were still living out west on 9/11, and I think that really lessened the impact. I didn't discuss it with him then (he was 5) but might have if we would have lived here just because it seems it would have been very immediate and in his face. The f-word is a non-issue in my house. Using a swear word is far less offensive to me than any number of other responses people can give when angry. I don't talk politics much at home, and I am not even sure my son knows my party affiliation, but yes, he says all kinds of things about Bush that he has NOT heard from me. I am very open about answering his questions, but I do not generally initiate uncomfortable topics. I have a couple friends who I like to say "lead the witness" too much, and I don't think that encourages critical thinking. I hope that I am not sheltering him too much.

Posted by: TakomaMom | February 6, 2007 11:25 AM

sorry for the unintended anon post. That was me at 11:24.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 11:26 AM

I was born in 79 as well and wow, what an interesting 90s to grow up in politically!

Marion Barry, Clinton, and OJ of course occupied that summer vacation between 9th and 10th grade, I believe it was.

I do think it was ashame in a way, though. I'm a political animal, but I think those scandals turned a lot of young people off in a lot of ways- instead of politics being a serious thing, it's now a joke."B... set me up" and "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" is not the best way to form one's political mind, but...what can we do...


Posted by: Born in 79 too | February 6, 2007 11:27 AM

So, is the N word or the other F word acceptable?

Posted by: to TakomaMon | February 6, 2007 11:27 AM

cmac --

So true. But, when your kids are teenagers in a few years, will you attempt to alter or influence any liberal views they may espouse?

Given your extremely right-wing attitudes, how far will your tolerance go?

Posted by: usuallylurking | February 6, 2007 10:45 AM

It's hard to take your question seriously aince you portray me as having "extreme right wing attitudes." You don't know me and I think you'd be surprised at some of my views. I think you'd also be surprised to know that I grew up with parents that are Democrats and with no political motivations when it came to their kids. They raised 3 kids that are conservative and vote with the Republican Party (for the most part) - so party label means little to me - it has to do with what is right and wrong.

Regardless, tolerance is not an issue in our house. We have friends of different political persuasions, ethnicity and backgrounds and my kids hear different perspectives all the time. We're not bringing our kids up in a bubble. I hope my kids will be on the right side of the issues of the day as teenagers and adults, and grow up to be good people despite any political label.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 11:27 AM

"sorry for the unintended anon post. That was me at 11:24"

Dammit, NC Lawyer, I have warned you several times about CRS! I did know it was you from your style.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 11:29 AM

Ah yes, differences of opinions - when I was 12, I participated in a debate at school on abortion - at the time, I was adamantly pro-life. My mother was just as adamantly pro-choice, but never never never did she say my viewpoint was "wrong". She simply explained why she felt the way she did. I expect to do the same with my own child. I would never call my beliefs my "rules" and expect them to be "obeyed" as such.

Posted by: TakomaMom | February 6, 2007 11:30 AM

So, is the N word or the other F word acceptable?

Posted by: to TakomaMon | February 6, 2007 11:27 AM

This is such nonsense. The use of common cursewords, generally either vulgarity or profanity, has not got diddly to do with common use of words that express intolerance. The use of various words that refer to excrement is no indicator that TakomaMom or any other parent from whom foul language is a non-issue is raising a homophobic or racist child. gimmeabreak.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 11:31 AM

Actually, what I would call the "standard" swear words are all acceptable - what I would call derogatory terms are completely off-limits - this includes the n-word and the other f-word, which I have never used in my life. These are the rules my parents used, and I always respected their system.

Posted by: TakomaMom | February 6, 2007 11:33 AM

Leslie, please remove the anonymous post at 11:24 per WaPo rules.

and then remove this one too.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 11:33 AM

Thank you anonymous 11:31 poster - you made my point before I did :)

Posted by: TakomaMom | February 6, 2007 11:34 AM

heheh! anyone who's read this board for a few weeks knows that the post never enforces the posting rules.
if they did, there'd be maybe 50 posts max per day.

once we came up with the rare good idea for a moderated blog but queen L said "too hard".... so we are left to sift through the drivel.

Posted by: regular lurker | February 6, 2007 11:36 AM

Why the f-word is only a start -
Running list of 'broken items':

"Iraq. New Orleans. The NATO Alliance. Lebanon. Iran, if he can. The Constitution. Promises. The Law. Civic norms. The economy. Social Security. Medicare. Medicaid. The education system. The will of others. The lives of others. The Democratic party. The government itself. His own political party. The reputation of his own family."

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 11:37 AM

One more thing (I didn't mean to stay off-topic) - I would like to clarify that I don't mean to imply that I allow my son to use swear words - actually, I don't - but I fully admit that he heard them all from me long before he heard them at school or anywhere else. If he were to say to me that someone made him so angry that he wanted to call that person the f-word, I would consider that an appropriate expression of his anger - I would NOT encourage him to actually use the word - that is what I meant by a non-issue.

Posted by: TakomaMom | February 6, 2007 11:38 AM

Leslie, please remove the anonymous post at 11:24 per WaPo rules.

and then remove this one too.


Posted by: | February 6, 2007 11:33 AM

So now I suppose somehow this has gotten personal with someone? I'm glad that most of the posters on this blog have the chutzpah to disagree with opinions rather than posters, and then to attach their "names" to their rants.

and, Fred, at a certain age it's hard to hide "style", isn't it? :>) (is it okay to reveal that I liked RMN and cried when he resigned on my birthday? hey - I was only 8. can we still be cyberpals?)

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 11:40 AM

'So how did you handle telling your kids about bl*w jobs, etc during that time' of Clinton/Lewensky

they heard about it from the Washington Post, which they read. they think it's funny. they like the bumper sticker

When Clinton lied, no one died

my 18 year old son is plenty worried about the draft, it could be implemented quickly, as they are on the computer at DMV. They have to register for selective service when they get a drivers license.

Posted by: experienced mom | February 6, 2007 11:40 AM

This is such nonsense. The use of common cursewords, generally either vulgarity or profanity, has not got diddly to do with common use of words that express intolerance.

I guess what you are saying is that is OK to express such a rage against a person that sexual assult would be OK but never one of intolerance.

Posted by: to TakomaMon | February 6, 2007 11:42 AM

No, TakomaMom, none of it is acceptable. Unfortunately, my son has come home with statements and questions that indicate he was (at his previous school and aftercare) witness to some racist and homophobic remarks from other kids. I nip that in the bud immediately. I also talk with him to put a stop to any curse words that are uttered. Since he has changed schools, I haven't heard it. But I'm not naive enough to think that he won't be exposed to it somehow. It is my responsibility to keep it out of my house.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | February 6, 2007 11:42 AM

Islam is the religion of peace.

Posted by: Eman | February 6, 2007 11:45 AM

Thanks TakomaMom for sharing some thoughts on sheltering your child. I agree that we don't have to tell our kids everything. I don't let my kids watch a lot of tv -- so they never see the news. We look at some of the pictures in the newspaper, but if there are dead bodies on the front page, I hide the paper. I just don't see sacrificing their innocence now and jusify it by planning our intellectual dinnertime discussions when they are 8.

I mentioned that I told my preschooler that the homeless person's sign said "Have a nice day." I don't want to burden the tender mind of a four-year-old with the image of homelessness. She knows there are people who don't have as much as we have, and she's helped me give clothes away. That, and her Mom handles "sad" topics better.

Posted by: Arington Dad | February 6, 2007 11:46 AM

"...my 18 year old son is plenty worried about the draft, it could be implemented quickly, as they are on the computer at DMV. They have to register for selective service when they get a drivers license."

Experienced Mom, No, it is not that easy to reinstate the draft. One house of the congress must introduce a bill and then pass it, the other chamber must then pass it and the president must allow it to go into law by some method.

As of right now, there is only registration. There is no legal authority to draft anyone.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 11:47 AM

Gag. Could the final sentence have been any more cheesy.

Let's get over this "the world will never be the same" mentality. Many many events have changed the world forever. Example: the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Posted by: Marianne | February 6, 2007 11:48 AM

Re: racial intolerance, vulgarity, curse words, etc in children.

While I keep my ears open to everything my kids "bring home" whether it is attitudes or stories the one problem that keeps coming up is bullying. It is an age-old problem that all kids face, but the tolerance the school gives to some "bullies" is unbelievable. In Jr HS and HS it is cyber-bullying now, but grade school is still shoving and teasing.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 11:52 AM

I shelter my kids from a lot of junk on tv. When we watched the superbowl together, i kept changing the channels during commercials when they showed trailers for Hannibal Rising, CSI, Criminal Minds, with dead bodies and gruesome ways to kidnap and murder someone. I was appalled that I couldn't even watch the superbowl with my young uns!

I guess it's too much to expect the media to make it family friendly.... especially after the past year's "wardrobe malfunction".

Posted by: Hash brown | February 6, 2007 11:53 AM

btw, on a lighter note, I always thought that one of the primary incentives to become a good reader was to read for myself all the things in books, newspapers, etc. that my parents never told me about or from which they were protecting me.

when I began reading the Harry Potter books to my son (starting around age 6, I think), I substituted euphemisms for all the curse words. He "sensed" I was editing and asked me one day. I freely admitted it and suggested that the only way he could beat parental editing was to get to the point where he could go to source materials and determine the whole story for himself. I liken our household to an educated populace under the control of a pair of benevolent dictators.

On a more serious note, I got an entirely slanted view on the VietNam war from my dad. Even at a young age, I knew the information I was hearing at home was one-sided, but didn't have anything to test it against. Then I developed the reading skills to cull throught all the many newspapers/magazines that came into our house, on my own. It was the 60s, and I had a brother in the Army. The truth mattered, or at least an understanding of the issues in dispute. At least it mattered to me, and still does.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 11:53 AM

How many of you were totally turned off and uninterested in seeing "Flight 93", the film about the two men trapped in the WTC rubble, and now "World Trade Center"?

Posted by: KLin | February 6, 2007 11:54 AM

Fred, it used to be "not easy" for a President to start a war that mostly only he and his cronies wanted. But seems like this last one was done relatively easily.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 11:56 AM

Experienced mom - the draft is not coming back any time soon. The only member of congress backing a bill remotely resembling bringing back the draft is Charles Rangel from NY - so it is going nowhere.

Be thankful that we have the volunteers that we need - we have an all volunteer force and they deserve our thanks, praise and support.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 11:56 AM

Fred, at a certain age it's hard to hide "style", isn't it? :>) (is it okay to reveal that I liked RMN and cried when he resigned on my birthday? hey - I was only 8.

Nixon resigning was one of the politically happiest days in my life. I never liked or trusted that man from when I lived in Ca. (talk about children being aware of politics!)

Although I generally lean Republican, I did vote for McGovern in the 1972 elections. I was one of the newly enfranchised voters at the age of 20. My sergeant told me that I was wasting my vote for McGovern. I told him that the only vote wasted was the one not cast.

And on being friends, Freda and I disagree sometimes but we are still married, so , yes we can be friends.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 11:57 AM

Fred, thanks. I'm glad the draft is not up to President Bush. I read (probably in the washington post!) that someone asked Mr. Bush why he didn't send his daughters to fight in Iraq. Good question!

Posted by: experienced mom | February 6, 2007 11:57 AM

Sure, it may not be easy to reinstate the draft to get more troops to Iraq, but what about other hotspots around the world or what if there's another terrorist attack on the U.S.? Sorry, I think fearing the reinstatement of the draft is quite understandable.

Posted by: LTC | February 6, 2007 12:00 PM

We are in the world of TMI.. "too much information" - which is good and bad... when we were growing up; our parents had more influence over what information we heard; nowadays due to a gazillion cable channels and the internet - our kids know a lot more than we know!

I'll never forget when I came home from work one day and my then 3-year old son said "Do you know what Rush Limbaugh said today"... based on listening to the Rush show with his dad... And then when he was approximately 7 having him blurt out at the dinner table "President Clinton Got Jiggy with Monica Lewinski". WHAT! Kids are pretty smart at a very young age.

Be ready folks - Your kids know more than you can even imagine. Even curse words never spoken in your own home. The problem is our kids are so overwhelmed with info it is hard for them to discern the actual truth. And the appropriate behavior. And the more complicated part - is it just as hard for parents to do the same - but that is who our children look to for guidance. US. That is why parenting is a TOUGH JOB!

Posted by: C.W. | February 6, 2007 12:03 PM

"Fred, thanks. I'm glad the draft is not up to President Bush. I read (probably in the washington post!) that someone asked Mr. Bush why he didn't send his daughters to fight in Iraq. Good question!"


Um, because they CAN'T fight. Women are not allowed in battle.

Hospitals, back on base, yes, but not on the front lines.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 12:04 PM

"Thank you for this article that lets us know how to balance telling your kids the "whole truth" and keeping them "safe" from the whole truth."

Ditto. I really think some of you can't see the forest for the trees. Granted, 9/11 is a bit of a heavy subject, and his reaction may have had a political slant, but at some point in childhood, kids have to deal with a heavy subject. I appreciate the author's insight on how he dealt with the subject. The point is that you can only shelter a child from so much.

Those of you who have issue over the subject matter being 9/11, I suggest you pick a painful difficult topic, insert in the article, and figure out what you would do. Try taking some time ro reflect on what you would do instead of judging others.

Posted by: Cali ESQ | February 6, 2007 12:05 PM

"... but what about other hotspots around the world or what if there's another terrorist attack on the U.S.? Sorry, I think fearing the reinstatement of the draft is quite understandable."

I have no quarrel with what you say but this is a change from the current circumstances. If there is another attack, a draft may be necessary, maybe not. An attack on the US may well produce enough volunteers.

But as I say, the legislative process must be followed to reinstate the draft. Under the current circumstance, the president, the military and the congress have all said a resounding No! to a new draft.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 12:07 PM

Re: racial intolerance, vulgarity, curse words, etc in children.

While I keep my ears open to everything my kids "bring home" whether it is attitudes or stories the one problem that keeps coming up is bullying. It is an age-old problem that all kids face, but the tolerance the school gives to some "bullies" is unbelievable. In Jr HS and HS it is cyber-bullying now, but grade school is still shoving and teasing.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 11:52 AM


cmac, I also would like to see a column, or a blog-coup on the next FMLA day, on issues relating to bullying. Our son is scared silly of attending middle school next year for that reason.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 12:07 PM

"Sure, it may not be easy to reinstate the draft to get more troops to Iraq, but what about other hotspots around the world or what if there's another terrorist attack on the U.S.? Sorry, I think fearing the reinstatement of the draft is quite understandable.

Posted by: LTC | February 6, 2007 12:00 PM"

You can fear anything you want. You can fear Martial Law too, who knows what the future holds. First, you have to assume that we would not have enough volunteers given any event foreign or abroad. Also, the forces we have in Germany (not sure why?, but another topic) can always be pulled. We have forces in other countries that are deployable. Reservists activated, former military reinstated, age limits increased. Look at the enlistment rates after 9/11 - sky rocketed. The draft is the last on the list, not impossible but highly improbable.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 12:09 PM

to 12:04: I think you are taking the word "fight" too literally. Women are part of our troops "fighting" in Iraq.

Posted by: londonmom | February 6, 2007 12:10 PM

"...former military reinstated, age limits increased"

Yea, but you ain't getting me back in!

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 12:10 PM

A few weeks ago, my husband, son, and I went out to lunch in Adams Morgan, and walked by a very friendly homeless man panhandling as we approached the restaurant. My son has seen homeless people in the suburbs before, but usually not that close up. He has never had a conversation with one before. My husband gave the guy some money, we we exchanged greetings with him. We then went on our way. Our son was struck by the fact that the man had no socks, and my husband and I explained to him that sometimes, people don't have a place to live or a home, and this is because they sometimes have problems that they have not been able to solve. On our way back to our car, we saw the guy again, and my son called out hello to him. The guy said hello back and told him he had a nice smile. We went on our way.

In any case, I felt that this little exchange was valuable to all of us. It taught our son that not only does homelessness exist, but also that the people that are homeless are in fact PEOPLE. I think that it is too easy to try to ignore the homeless because their situation is too uncomfortable to acknowledge. Sometimes, what they need is not only a few dollars, but also a friendly smile or hello from those who walk past them. It must be awful to feel like people don't even want to look at you, much less acknowledge your presence as a human being.

Posted by: Emily | February 6, 2007 12:13 PM

cmac, I also would like to see a column, or a blog-coup on the next FMLA day, on issues relating to bullying. Our son is scared silly of attending middle school next year for that reason.

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 12:07 PM

Blog Coup - there seems to be a lot of recycling going on. I am with your son - Middle School is scary - a wacky age for kids and parents.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 12:13 PM

"to 12:04: I think you are taking the word "fight" too literally. Women are part of our troops "fighting" in Iraq."

This is true, Military Police (and AF Security Forces) are one componet on the front lines in Iraq. I read a story a couple of weeks back about a female Captain who was a CO of an MP company.

The MP's are not the only ones. Helo pilots are another.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 12:14 PM

I guess this only loosely deals with balance. But it does deal with the issue of telling kids the truth, even if the truth is pretty ugly. 9/11 was a horrible day for this country and for some other countries. Not just Americans died on 9/11. As far as a father saying that he hates the President or the country is worse off now, is his opinion. He is not stating that as scientific fact. Of course 8 year olds can only understand facts in a small facet. I personally think Bush has definitely taken this country in the wrong direction. I think the entire war has been handled very wrong from the get go. As far as I understand the reports from Congress, is the country is not less safe or more safe due to the war in Iraq. For each terroist cell we destroy a new one begins. The basic problem with the understanding of the Islamic/Western conflict is that we think that the answer is might. When the reality that is just a band aid to the problem. The real issue is why do Islamist fundamentalist hate the West so much. I think the Israeli/Palenstian conflict is a big part of it. The very existence of the state of Israel and the preception of the US undying loyalty to Israel is at the heart of the conflict. The other real issue is for a lot of these countries (not Iraq) but countries like Aghanstan, their life is pretty sucky. When life sucks and basic needs are not met, then conflict and blame springs forth. The initial analysis of the war was we can NOT afford to get this wrong. And yet we have. So now where are we? I don't think anyone knows. But 9/11 is just really a symbol of the Eastern Western clash. I think of 9/11 has a huge wake up call to the US. It was our first serious introduction to foreign terrorism on our soil. Well, we joined the rest of the world. Go ask Israel, Northern Ireland, and other places of the world what it is like to live with terrorism. We are not the only victims in the world. 9/11, unfortunately, ushered the US into a new world view. I hope and pray that we find a way to deal with the deep divides between the two cultures. Again, we need more discussions about actual balance. Someone posted a good list yesterday. I still would like to see a blog about limiting the number of children in the family as a balance topic.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 6, 2007 12:14 PM

"Sorry, I think fearing the reinstatement of the draft is quite understandable."

You know, it's not just that you'd need Congressional consent, which is not forthcoming. You don't just say, "Okay, now we have a draft," and suddenly you're magically able to accommodate tens of thousands of conscripts. Any draft would have to be preceded by considerable, time-consuming, and expensive reconfiguration of existing military infrastructure. You can't make the change from a volunteer force to a conscripted force on a dime, and you can't just slot many thousands of conscripts into the pre-existing structure.

Not to mention the fact that the services have repeatedly stated that they would prefer just about anything at all to a draft. If you've got a burning yearning to worry about your draft-age son, it's much more reasonable to spend your time fretting over car accidents, stupid fraternity pranks, and poor spending habits than it is to agonize about the reinstatement of the draft.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 6, 2007 12:15 PM

12:04 said:

"Um, because they CAN'T fight. Women are not allowed in battle.

Hospitals, back on base, yes, but not on the front lines."

Tell that to the 73 female soldiers who have died (primarily from IED attacks and suicide car bombs). See http://icasualties.org/oif/female.aspx for female casualties confirmed by the Dept. of Defense.

Speaking of respecting and supporting our troops, I'd say that female soldiers defending us and risking their lives while we all sit around on our tookuses at our keyboards merit a significantly more respectful tone than is shown by this anon poster. Maybe I'm being too sensitive.


Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 12:17 PM

KLin, I have no interest in watching those movies. But I don't want to insult someone who does. I think of it as profitting from disater. I'm sure others think of it as putting the focus on regular people who became heros.

Posted by: Meesh | February 6, 2007 12:18 PM

besides, under Rangel's bill, both males and females are subject to call up.

(I am not being facetious, look at H.R. 393.)

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 12:19 PM

"Also, the forces we have in Germany (not sure why?, but another topic)"

Leftover from the Cold War. We deployed troops to Germany in case we ever had to fight the USSR. (This was itself a leftover from the aftermath of World War II, when German and Austrian cities were divvied up between the Allies. Watch "The Third Man" for a good portrayal of the postwar partition of Vienna.)

These days, it has been extremely convenient to have a military hospital at Ramstein; you can fly wounded troops to Germany from Iraq or Afghanistan much more quickly than you can fly them to the U.S. All the guys I know who spent time at Walter Reed were first flown to Ramstein.

As we realign, we're pulling troops from Germany. We've got many fewer guys there now than we did ten years ago. If I had my way, they'd all be redeployed to the Korean Peninsula, but who cares what I think?

Posted by: Lizzie | February 6, 2007 12:22 PM

Gee, how did we even get on all of this draft stuff? I missed yesterday but did read some of it.

Best sandwich, shrimp po-boy, dressed, of course! Might be known as a sub or grinder outside the South. Fried shrimp on French bread garnished with mayo, lettuce and tomato. Tabasco sauce to suit the eater!

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 12:24 PM

As we realign, we're pulling troops from Germany. We've got many fewer guys there now than we did ten years ago. If I had my way, they'd all be redeployed to the Korean Peninsula, but who cares what I think?

Posted by: Lizzie | February 6, 2007 12:22 PM

I agree with your summation. Ramstein AFB is convenient and I know troop levels have been pulled down, but also the German economy has become so dependant on the forces and dollars spent that it would be economically devastating to pull significants troops out a once. It has been a diplomatic problem as well.

But hey - if the s**t goes down and we need the troops - too bad Germany.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 12:29 PM

Fred,
We were chastised yesterday by talking about trivial things like dates and sandwiches so watch out. Then Missicat tried to switch from sandwiches to pizza but we persuaded her that pizza deserves it's own day.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 12:35 PM

Oh, pizza is absolutely a separate topic from sandwiches. We can get great sandwiches down her but there is no decent pizza! You have to go to Chicago for pizza!

(and yes, I have had pizza in NYC, Chicago is better!)

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 12:37 PM

I've been struggling with how to handle discussing politics in my home. My husband and I agree wholeheartedly with each other, but we disagree with what to tell our children. How have other parents handled discussing politics with their kids when they have a different approach from the other parent or different politics all together?

Posted by: gdc | February 6, 2007 12:40 PM

This worked for Vietnam -- time Congress is appropriating funds for the military, it should cut them (at least) by 70 percent, and stipulate that funds designated for the "war" in Iraq be used only to bring troops home, and for no other purpose. Congress has this authority, and if there's no money, there's no more so-called "war."

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 12:42 PM

.... anyone else have the feeling that the ONLY reason he wrote today's blog was to write about how his 8-year-old supposedly hates Bush? Hmmm I wonder where the kid picked that up from. IcallBS.

Posted by: StudentMom | February 6, 2007 12:47 PM

Speaking of respecting and supporting our troops, I'd say that female soldiers defending us and risking their lives while we all sit around on our tookuses at our keyboards merit a significantly more respectful tone than is shown by this anon poster. Maybe I'm being too sensitive.

NClawyer- then get off YOUR tookus and go join

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 12:50 PM

"I also would like to see a column, or a blog-coup on the next FMLA day, on issues relating to bullying. Our son is scared silly of attending middle school next year for that reason."

I would too! We are making school choices for my 1st grader and this is a concern for us. Question I'm gonna toss out. Do people see a difference in bullying in private vs. public schools? Some pals assume that private is better, but I'm pretty sure that affluence doesn't mean you aren't a jerk. I'd love to hear experiences and/or advice.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 6, 2007 12:52 PM

gdc, luckily I don't have to deal with this personally as I am a single parent. But I have known several democrat/republican partnerships and would be fascinated to see how they discuss political issues with their children. Really, I think these kids can end up more "balanced" in their views than kids whose parents agree, but only if parents are equally respectful of each other's opinions while communicating their own. In my family, my mom was the political voice, and I didn't find out until I was older that my dad had a couple opinions that were substantially different from my mom's - I think I would have liked to hear his ideas when I was younger because a) I would have seen how people can get along/love eachother DESPITE these differences (excellent for kids to learn) and b) it would have provided more information to inform my own opinion. I think you should both talk politics if you feel so inclined - nothing wrong with saying, "but mom/dad looks at this issue a bit differenty - you can ask him/her about it when you feel like it".

Posted by: TakomaMom | February 6, 2007 12:55 PM

"I think Bill Clinton was the worst President that walked this earth"

cmac --

I think you have to have pretty right-wing, extremist attitudes to make the above comment -- especially given the buffoon who now occupies the White House.

Posted by: usually lurking | February 6, 2007 12:55 PM

NClawyer- then get off YOUR tookus and go join

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 12:50 PM

Maybe NC will join up when you actually sign your posts - annoying anonymous poster.

Seriously - I hate this snarky question whether it is asked of NC or President Bush's daughters. The remedial answer is we have an all volunteer force, no one is propelled to join the armed services. I'd rather have people that want to service and are good at it (there are standards you know) then every tom, dick and harry.

The reason we have such a superior military lies in the fact that we have superior people that will put their ass on the line, unlike some people that won't even sign their name on a silly Wash Post blog.

Posted by: CMAC | February 6, 2007 12:57 PM

What is "the other f-word"?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 12:57 PM

I have a 5th grader in private school who will go to public middle school next year. Bullying has been worse at the private school where some very affluent children have gotten away with behavior that the public schools would simply not tolerate. I also think that children whose parents can afford to, send their "behavior problem" kids to private school where they are less likely to face suspension or expulsion for bad behavior. A big contribution to the captial campaign or to the annual fund seems to help erase bad behavior in ways that I would have thought not possible. Our youngest will go to public kindergarten next year since we fear that the younger children in her class at private school could have even greater issues than the 5th graders!

Posted by: To Moxiemom from Stacey | February 6, 2007 12:59 PM

gdc, your differences of opinion give you the opportunity to show your kids best how to debate/fight about ideas without engaging in personal attack and insult.

If different opinions are the issue, one of the rules we follow, FWIW, is that WRT those few, big topics on which we do not agree, neither parent engages in ambush marketing. For us this means we don't engage in one-off, one-sided conversations with either of our kids on significant topics where we do not agree with each other. We have those conversations together and balance each other out, even if we have to postpone the conversation until the other parent gets home, or if I have to invite my husband in from the garage mid-sawing.

What are the different approaches you and your husband have, though?

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 1:00 PM

"I think you have to have pretty right-wing, extremist attitudes to make the above comment -- especially given the buffoon who now occupies the White House."

I don't think you need to be right-wing or extremist to think that Clinton was the worst President. I don't agree with it - I think that James Buchanan was the single worst President, possibly followed by Grant - but I'm not going to impute partisanship to someone who might just not take the long view.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 6, 2007 1:00 PM

"NClawyer- then get off YOUR tookus and go join "

Maybe she cannot join due to a myriad of reasons. NC Lawyer was responding to a comment that women are not in the fight in Iraq. She correctly pointed out that women are in the fight and should be shown the same respect that male military members are shown.

Not everyone has the aptitude, the attitude and physical strength to be in the military. It is a tough life. I see no requirement to be in the military to support it.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 1:00 PM

KLin, I have no interest in watching those movies. But I don't want to insult someone who does. I think of it as profitting from disater. I'm sure others think of it as putting the focus on regular people who became heros.

Posted by: Meesh | February 6, 2007 12:18 PM


Have you seen Black Hawk Down, Schindler's List, Band of Brothers, Platoon, Empire of the Sun, Letters from Iwo Jima, JFK, Three Kings, Courage under Fire, Glory, Apocolypse Now, Good Morning Vietnam, English Patient, Enemy at the Gates, Full Metal Jacket???????

Have you ever seen an actual movie? I'd be hard pressed to find one that doesn't make money off of a tradegy of some sort (even a fictualized account of, say, child abuse, is SOMEONE'S tradegy)

WWII movies were incredibly popular during and after the war because it was about heroes- World Trade Center and hte like (though I don't think it was the best movie) was a human story- it was not a politically motivated film (I was surprised given Oliver Stone's history)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:00 PM

"I think Bill Clinton was the worst President that walked this earth"

cmac --

I think you have to have pretty right-wing, extremist attitudes to make the above comment -- especially given the buffoon who now occupies the White House.

Posted by: usually lurking | February 6, 2007 12:55 PM

If you consider that extreme right wing then so be it. Perhaps you are the extremists - you could not even refrain from calling Bush a buffoon. Name calling can be a sign of immaturity and is different then stating an opinion.

For what it is worth, Clinton is a poopy-head. Happy?

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 1:02 PM

What is "the other f-word"?

If you know the British slang for a cigarette, you can figure it out.

Posted by: the original anon | February 6, 2007 1:03 PM

"Do people see a difference in bullying in private vs. public schools? Some pals assume that private is better, but I'm pretty sure that affluence doesn't mean you aren't a jerk. I'd love to hear experiences and/or advice."

With respect to bullying only (I'll save academics, etc., for another day), there are certainly bullies in every school, private or public. Sometimes the affluent variety are worse.

Regardless, I would say my personal experience with public school was that students had to fend for themselves because teachers were too busy to mess with it, as long as nobody was being physically harmed. When I switched to private schools, the teachers and administrators were very interested in everyone's well-being and development, so behavioral problems such as bullying tended to get addressed early-on, rather than be allowed to get worse.

This discussion about the war is boring me.

Posted by: catmommy | February 6, 2007 1:05 PM

NClawyer- then get off YOUR tookus and go join

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 12:50 PM

Oh so brave and nameless one, since you feel the need to get personal anonymously, I'm 45 and our armed forces have no need for old people. I'm glad your so concerned about our troops that you're recommending enlisting to new acquaintances.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 1:06 PM

Last year when my family was vacationing in OBX when hurricane Earnesto was blowing through, I discovered my annoying son crying and shaking after the power went out. His greatest fear - tornadoes, of all things.

Since then, we've checked out books and visited web sites on tornadoes, but I don't think it has lowered his anxiety on the subject.

Kids pick things up. My wife and I used to spell key words in our conversation like "p-i-z-z-a" to keep the kid away from the conversation, but when it comes down to spelling words out, I think every parent comes to realize that keeping secrets from their kids is only a matter of time.

Most dogs even know what the letters "w-a-l-k" spells.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 6, 2007 1:07 PM

"Let's get over this "the world will never be the same" mentality. Many many events have changed the world forever. Example: the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

Yes, I agree. Think: the Holocaust, the invention of the printing press, the Industrial Revolution. The world was TRULY never the same after these events.

9/11 was sad and, in its way, horrific. But it doesn't even begin to compare to the atrocities of genocide -- wherever it occurs.

And how do you think American parents explained to their children what we did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Much harder, I think, than explaining 9/11.

Posted by: pittypat | February 6, 2007 1:08 PM

I don't think you need to be right-wing or extremist to think that Clinton was the worst President. I don't agree with it - I think that James Buchanan was the single worst President, possibly followed by Grant - but I'm not going to impute partisanship to someone who might just not take the long view.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 6, 2007 01:00 PM

Should have said ONE of the worst presidents, not THE. Jimmy Carter ranks up there as does LBJ. Nixon was not much better.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 1:09 PM

Stacey and Catmommy - thanks for your input. I guess it really comes down to the individual school. My concerns about bullying are as much about my child getting sucked into some group that is unkind as it is him being the victim. I feel like everything in our culture is working against me raising a couple of decent people. I'm probably overthinking and overreacting but I definately want my children to be with a group of people who promote tolerance, compassion and consideration as much as the academics - it seems like a pretty tall order tho. Anyway, thanks again - I appreciate it.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 6, 2007 1:11 PM

And how do you think American parents explained to their children what we did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Much harder, I think, than explaining 9/11.

Posted by: pittypat | February 6, 2007 01:08 PM

I am going to regret posting to you, I just know it but the answer is :Saving countless lives. The Japanese were ready to fight to the last man.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 1:12 PM

"Do people see a difference in bullying in private vs. public schools?"

It's all the administration. I cannot emphasize strongly enough how closely you should scrutinize the administration before making any judgment about bullying. My husband went to a very well-regarded private school where the administration was somewhat laissez-faire. The worst behavior was weeded out, but lesser offenses continued.

Now he teaches at a school where the principal will. not. suspend or expel students. She receives a financial incentive to keep suspension and expulsion rates down. My husband and other teachers bust their butts to keep harassment and bullying to a minimum, but as long as the principal doesn't take it seriously, their efforts are doomed. (The principal has let several actionable offenses slide by. I'm waiting for a litigous parent to wise up and sue the school that wouldn't keep her daughter safe from sexual harassment.)

It's all about the administration. They're ultimately the ones who have the power to set disciplinary policy in their schools. Talk to teachers and other parents about how the administration of any school you look at has handled bullying and harassment.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 6, 2007 1:12 PM

"While I keep my ears open to everything my kids "bring home" whether it is attitudes or stories the one problem that keeps coming up is bullying."

From small bullies, large bullies grow.

I think it must be especially hard for parents nowadays to deal with bullying, since so much of it happens online, where there's a unlimited audience and a nearly unlimited toolbox for creating meanness.

Cmac, I don't envy you and other parents the job of guiding your kids through that minefield.

Posted by: pittypat | February 6, 2007 1:13 PM

DD is only three. But I was wondering, when does bullying start? Kindergarten, first grade, upper elementary, middle school? It seems like 3 and 4 year olds do not know enough to be mean or nice yet.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 6, 2007 1:14 PM

Wow...that's the best word for me...wow.

Couldn't agree more with Arlington Dad:

"Leslie and the author write for a living -- they know what they are doing. I'm sure Steve is capable of writing a blog about how to appropriately discuss 9/11 with his son --without even delving into politics. He chose to obscure the message about discussing tragedy with a child."

Plenty of tit and tat back and forth already, I see, which as A.Dad pointed out was inevitable. The stretch to make this about balance strains credibility to the breaking point, but I'll try to do it in the name of peacefulness.

Personally, I am what I call a consistent conservative, which means I lean philosophically libertarian. I want the government out of my pocketbook, doing what little govt. actually should do (and can do well, which frankly ain't too much), as well as keeping them out of my bedroom, women's uterus's, etc. So I manage to pi$$ off both Dems and Repubs, depending on topic.

I do agree we should all remember to respect the Office, regardless of it's occupant. For me, that we actually much harder to do under the previous President, but I managed it. Thank God my kids were too young to have to explain what a BJ was. I note how few people who have excoriated Bush on this blog have (at least so far) answered how hard it was/would have been to explain that behavior from our President to a child.

So in the spirit of fairness, I will also use a recent episode from my soon to be teenager about Hillary Clinton (also not my favorite human being). Out of the blue my daughter said that she really wanted Hillary to win, only because she would be the first woman elected to the Presidency. We had a few minutes discussion about how I thought this was flawed reasoning. We discussed that one should pick as a leader the best possible choice, because the role being filled is unique in the world right now. That she would be the first woman was a nice extra, but that should hardly be a reason to vote for the leader of the Free World. We offered that you should never vote for or against someone just because of their race, religion, or gender.

Now, my first impulse was to yell, "Jesus, no more Clinton's or Bushes for awhile, thank you." Both I put aside my personal feelings and tried to make it a learning moment, as I suspect most parents would.

For me, it goes back to my favorite point, that kids are much smarter than we give them credit for, and they pick up both what their parents say and the what they don't---meaning attitude and disposition. So to Steve Fox, I suggest that your kids potential f-bomb dropping likely has much more to do with your profession, it's leanings, and the whole NPR/MSM attitude than you seem to understand. He didn't get "hatred" in a vacuum, or from school (regardless of how PC and liberal most of DC tends to be). You and/or your spouse should probably look in the mirror to consider where/why the word "hate" would be used in such a context.

For both political sides, I think we all do disservice to their kids and ourselves when we listen only to the echo chamber. That's why I read and listen to opinion from all sides. But I hope that one day you journalism folks realize just how immensely biased you tend to be, and how amazing naïve/cynical you have become about your biases. What rationalizations you must have to invent to pretend evenhandedness. I really enjoyed reading Goldberg's book Bias. Is that ever talked about in the WaPo newsrooms? But one doesn't have to be a right wing nut to realize this, only realistic. I don't give the other side a pass, but they don't control journalism as a profession, or set the original litmus test to get in the profession. The right wing surely has their own version of this, but if you think the turning off of the network news, declining newspaper readership, etc., and watching people go to alternate sources (like Fox, blogs, etc.) is because of red state people's delusions and not your own often blatant biases, then just watch the reality in just a few years. The death spiral will continue...but that's a story for another time.

And before the attacks begin, I have never been a huge George W. fan. I really wished his father had won a second term, because I think the world would be a very different place now. People wanted change then, and they didn't realize the incredibly unique period in world history that happened after the USSR fell. Clinton, who never cared about foreign affairs, wasted a once in a lifetime opportunity to shape the post-cold world world. Daddy Bush was doing well, and would have put all the right pieces in place.

Fro myself, I voted for Ann Richards, because she was a very good and effective PR face for the State, which frankly in Texas is mostly what the Governor does. Bush lead tort reform, and the no child left behind stuff, which I liked, but he was no fabulous Governor by any means. And though she could be vicious and mean at times, I loved reading Molly Ivins talk about Shrub (I'm going to miss her writing style--there was a properly spirited Texas woman). Frankly, I thought/think Jeb was a better prospect for President. But with that said, having Bush at 9/11 was a huge deal. He was the right man at that time. His prosecution of the war and those running it for him have been inept, but not for the ridiculously described evil reasons that come from the loopy left. Read that folks--inept, not evil.

But for all who say the war is nothing but pure evil, I do offer a different macro prospective (I won't go into the suffering, etc., which I don't minimize). Regardless of final outcome (Iraq has to decide if it will be a good one, or civil war--not us), I think it restored our version of America as a country you don't want to fly plane (or other) bombs into. History will be a better judge of this than today's shoot from the hip judge-meisters. If you just have to blame America about something, blame our pathetic lack of response to previous terror strikes against us around the world, under President's of both parties. It was understandable how terror idiots might begin to assume that we were either a paper tiger or Gulliver, tied down by European or world opinion. Many prefer to lament the gunslinger mentality now, but history may have a different verdict in the longer run. Having potential enemies really concerned that you might go crazy uncle all over them may be having a much more salutary effect than Bush-haters realize. Having your entire country turned inside out for attacking America is a message that has been received over there. They may or may not hate us anymore than they did, but they know for sure that can't commit acts of war with impunity now...

Fire away...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | February 6, 2007 1:14 PM

"you could not even refrain from calling Bush a buffoon"

Why would I want to try?

Posted by: usuallylurking | February 6, 2007 1:15 PM

MoxieMom,

You are right -- it does come down to the individual school, as well as the individual child. When my parents put me in private schools (I was in third grade), I visited several, and each of them allowed me to spend a day with a class, so I had the opportunity to meet students and see what it was like day-to-day, including lunch, recess, activities, etc.. I loved one school, and thought the other was so-so, so the choice was obvious to me and my parents, who had the same opinion.

Posted by: catmommy | February 6, 2007 1:17 PM

"Be thankful that we have the volunteers that we need - we have an all volunteer force and they deserve our thanks, praise and support."

But we don't! If we did, the military wouldn't be recycling troops to the extent they are. Soldiers wouldn't be going back to Iraq for the third time.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:18 PM

"And how do you think American parents explained to their children what we did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Much harder, I think, than explaining 9/11."

Unlikely. You're generalizing current-day attitudes towards people who were finishing up a five-year, two-front war. There was universal relief in the US when the bombs were dropped and Japan surrendered. It's extremely unlikely that most American parents characterized the bombings as anything other than a way to end the war quickly and decisively.

Parents explaining Pearl Harbor to their kids is probably a better parallel - or British parents explaining the Blitz.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 6, 2007 1:18 PM

Ugh - bullying makes me so sad. I used to teach in a public school, and the mentality there was twofold: 1) kids will be kids, and bullying is par for the course, and 2) teachers wouldn't stop bullying because they thought having the bullies on their "side" in class would help keep better decorum. Unfortunately for the administration which dealt with much of the really bad bullying, I can't tell you how many parents of bullies will say "you're infringing on my kid's right to free speech," "weren't you ever a kid - they'll grow out of it," or, my personal favorite, "that's it? that's what you're calling me for? Don't waste my time unless my kid has done something REALLY bad." I can't compare to private schools because I don't have any experience there, but from my viewpoint, the teachers and parents were to varying degrees, both guilty of not doing enough to stop bullying. I think it is every teacher's responsibility (and I know I'm going to get jumped on for this), to make their classrooms safe environments for teaching. They SHOULD step in and stop verbal bullying.

Posted by: AnonToday | February 6, 2007 1:19 PM

Can the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) be "creatively" read by AG Gonzales to allow for a draft? It's a reasonable question, because AG and his DoJ have read it to mean numerous other things that congress did not intend (e.g., I can go to Iran b/c terrorists live there)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:21 PM

"Um, because they CAN'T fight. Women are not allowed in battle.

Hospitals, back on base, yes, but not on the front lines."

Um, tell that to all the female soldiers in the streets of Iraq. There's really no such thing as a "front line" anymore.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:21 PM

"And how do you think American parents explained to their children what we did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?"

How to you explain to children about the Japanese rape of Nan King? How do you explain the fact that WWI Japan had subjugated over half of SE Asia for its own purposes? In military terms, what we did in dropping the bomb was no worse or better than the introduction of the machine gun in WWI. The Japanese gov't was warned several times about the power of the bomb. This was no sneak attack. In the balance of the war, fewer people of both countries were killed verses an invasion of the home island. The US causalities alone were estimated to be at least 1 million. The casualty count from bombing both cities is estimated at 210,000.

I would explain it very simply to a young child. A nation run by evil men tried to conquer half the world and we had a weapon to stop them. They were stopped and now thanks to our efforts, a peaceful country now exists.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 1:23 PM

Hitler was right, he said if you tell a BIG lie people will believe you, and scanning through the posts here I found no one saying what is now proven without any shadow of doubt, 9/11 was a false flag attack planned and orchestrated by our military and people working for them. As maybe you have heard, PNAC needed a New Pearl Harbor to fool people like you to support going to war with Iraq. So 9/11 was set off, and it is all down hill from there. I don't know how you explain that to your 8 year old.
Learn more by Google 9/11 Finnish, then read the writings by the Finnish Military Expert. I am afraid soon we will see a new Pearl Harbor to justify attack on Iran. We are now like Germany 1933-36 when fascist took over.

Posted by: Tor125 | February 6, 2007 1:23 PM

"Look at the enlistment rates after 9/11 - sky rocketed."

Yeah, but now they've dive-bombed. Same with applications to the military academies.

Apparently, that's what happens when an administration makes up bogus reasons to go to war and then refuses to admit it was a mistake.

Count on it -- this country will have a very hard time encouraging volunteer enlistment unless the U.S. is attacked again.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:25 PM

Leslie wrote - "Second, to me Steve's essay is all about balance between work and home. A major topic for the past two years at my house has been the choices of working and stay-at-home moms. How could my kids not pick up on the central focus of my daily work? How could Steve's son NOT be interested in politics and international events?"


OK - so the topic here is spillover of work into the home, which as you rightly point out happens all the time.

Yet, Steve's wrote - "I asked my son why he had picked out the book.

He said: 'I wanted to read about it because you never talk about it and I wanted to see if you've lied about it.'"


I think that the "you never talk about it" is what threw me off the scent of the work-family slant.

Posted by: lindab | February 6, 2007 1:26 PM

"The MP's are not the only ones. Helo pilots are another."

Don't forget all the women in supply and maintenance caravans.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:28 PM

How do you explain the fact that WWI Japan had subjugated over half of SE Asia for its own purposes

corrected to read WWII Japan

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 1:29 PM

"Yeah, but now they've dive-bombed. Same with applications to the military academies.

Apparently, that's what happens when an administration makes up bogus reasons to go to war and then refuses to admit it was a mistake."

That's also what happens when military recruiters promise enlistees they can be stationed in Hawaii, and then they spend the next year in the desert, only to be sent back again and again!

Posted by: tortlet | February 6, 2007 1:29 PM

Hitler was right, he said if you tell a BIG lie people will believe you, and scanning through the posts here I found no one saying what is now proven without any shadow of doubt, 9/11 was a false flag attack planned and orchestrated by our military and people working for them. As maybe you have heard, PNAC needed a New Pearl Harbor to fool people like you to support going to war with Iraq. So 9/11 was set off, and it is all down hill from there. I don't know how you explain that to your 8 year old. Learn more by Google 9/11 Finnish, then read the writings by the Finnish Military Expert. I am afraid soon we will see a new Pearl Harbor to justify attack on Iran. We are now like Germany 1933-36 when fascist took over.


Posted by: Tor125 | February 6, 2007 01:23 PM

Is it safe to say that now there's a poster we can all agree is a nutcase? On that, de's a uniter, not a divider.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:30 PM

Don't forget all the women in supply and maintenance caravans

Yup, every MOS but combat arms!

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 1:31 PM

How have other parents handled discussing politics with their kids when they have a different approach from the other parent or different politics all together?

Posted by: gdc | February 6, 2007 12:40 PM

Great question! My husband and I support different parties and one important lesson we've learned is that there is a time/place for political talk, and civility is key. We have had our share of heated discussions but over the years have learned when to step back. We agree that this kind of restraint is important to our marriage as well as to our daughter. Plus, if sharing similiar political ideologies was a really important in a mate to someone, I would doubt that he/she would marry outside their political party.

Posted by: different politics | February 6, 2007 1:32 PM

Any post starting with "Hitler was right" should be removed immediately. Overall that post was disgusting and offensive.

Honestly, do ANY insulting posts get removed around here?

Posted by: Christine | February 6, 2007 1:32 PM

Guess I have have to get my brown shirt out of the closet!

Posted by: to Tor125 | February 6, 2007 1:34 PM

Texas Dad: "Having your entire country turned inside out for attacking America is a message that has been received over there. "

Over where, and by whom?

Other than Osama ("Wanted Dead or Alive"), what enemy have we conclusively identified within Iraq?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:35 PM

"He knows about 9/11 now. But he still believes in Santa Claus."

That doesn't make sense. If the kid knows about all of the new national security measures, he should know a fat man in a red suit flying over restricted airspace in a sleigh over D.C. would be promptly shot down... :)

Posted by: catmommy | February 6, 2007 1:36 PM

Texas Dad of 2, a man after my own heart, pi$$ing off both sets of partisans. I completely disagree with your last paragraph, but always benefit from reading your comments.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 1:36 PM

That doesn't make sense. If the kid knows about all of the new national security measures, he should know a fat man in a red suit flying over restricted airspace in a sleigh over D.C. would be promptly shot down... :)


Posted by: catmommy | February 6, 2007 01:36 PM

ROFL :)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:39 PM

"Honestly, do ANY insulting posts get removed around here?"

The alleged jokes about Muslims were removed. BTW, I do not believe that the real Jokester posted those.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 1:41 PM

That doesn't make sense. If the kid knows about all of the new national security measures, he should know a fat man in a red suit flying over restricted airspace in a sleigh over D.C. would be promptly shot down... :)

That is too funny. Actually people use that analogy all the time. Like when the 6 year old killed a classmate, they said, he can kill someone but he still believes in Santa Claus. I think greed gets in the way with logical thinking in regards to the truth about SC.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 6, 2007 1:41 PM

Yes, Tor is a nutcase. I suppose the Finns have blown open the real truth, huh?! WOnder why no one else is jumping on this "truth" if countries around the world hate the US so very much!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:41 PM

"Speaking of respecting and supporting our troops, I'd say that female soldiers defending us and risking their lives while we all sit around on our tookuses at our keyboards merit a significantly more respectful tone than is shown by this anon poster. Maybe I'm being too sensitive."

NC lawyer --

I don't think you're being too sensitive at all.

If we're to respect and support our troops, that means ALL the troops. Female soldiers in Iraq are in harm's way every bit as much as male soldiers. After all, there is no "safe place" in a civil war.

It's a very outdated notion that women soldiers work only in hospitals and "back on base." Where has that poster been?

Posted by: pittypat | February 6, 2007 1:41 PM

TO - Posted by: | February 6, 2007 12:04 PM

Um, because they CAN'T fight. Women are not allowed in battle. Hospitals, back on base, yes, but not on the front lines.


Women are not allowed in the infantry - or hand-to-hand combat. But, they are definitely on forward reconnaissance teams, combat pilots and on the front line!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:43 PM

"Look at the enlistment rates after 9/11 - sky rocketed."

Yeah, but now they've dive-bombed. Same with applications to the military academies

Untrue - stop throwing crap hoping some will stick. Or sign your name.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 1:43 PM

"Fire away..."

Huh?

Texas Dad of 2, I'm not in the least tempted to even read your magnum opus, much less respond to it.

How do you make a living?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:47 PM

I would explain it very simply to a young child. A nation run by evil men tried to conquer half the world and we had a weapon to stop them. They were stopped and now thanks to our efforts, a peaceful country now exists.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 01:23 PM

Fred - thank you for being so eloquent on that answer, mine answer was too brief (brought on by severe hunger) and inadequate.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 1:47 PM

Well, what a great parent. Inculcate a hatred for the President of the United Stats in his children. Drill into their heads that the President of the country doesn't care about the country and is trying to destroy it. Encourage his 8-year old son to tell the President to "F himself". What a nasty horrible nation we are becoming. You should be ashamed of yourself sir!

Posted by: Colorado Kool-Aid | February 6, 2007 1:47 PM

The draft talk from earlier is also a straw man/boogey monster meant to scare.

You couldn't make the military brass go back to the draft for any reason short of a full fledged invasion of the homeland. Today's warrior and weaponry are very high tech and sophisticated, all the way down to communications, and not condusive to draftees who only want out or are unmotivated. You have to want to be a soldier now to make our military function.

So no draft...

The other point I forgot to make from earlier I'll wait to comment on, to see if it's brought up (from my previous post).

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | February 6, 2007 1:48 PM

Have any books been written about 9/11 specifically for children?

Posted by: catmommy | February 6, 2007 1:49 PM

Actually, Santa Claus using the israeli RPG deflection system that works just fine, instead of awarding a no-bid contract to Raytheon (home of former Generals) to build one.

[Lobbying for partisan comment of the day award.]

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:49 PM

"I am going to regret posting to you, I just know it but the answer is :Saving countless lives. The Japanese were ready to fight to the last man."

Okay, I can see how you can rationalize Hiroshima with this pat answer, but not Nagasaki. There was absolutely no excuse for Nagasaki.


Posted by: Emily | February 6, 2007 1:50 PM

Very true, and in fact me and my parents (I'm in my early 20's) were making jokes about the Santa thing in DC airspace over Christmas Eve at their house...and yet we didn't get coal. :)

Posted by: To Catmommy at 1:36 | February 6, 2007 1:53 PM

cmac- so what's YOUR real name?? cmac is as anonymous as being anonymous!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:53 PM

RE: I loved reading Molly Ivins talk about Shrub (I'm going to miss her writing style--there was a properly spirited Texas woman).


I will miss Molly Ivins very very much!! Her style was great fun, her prescience was awesome. She and Lou Dubose wrote in Shrub in Dec '99, "For an upper-class white boy, Bush comes on way too hard-ass--at a guess, to make up for being an upper-class white boy. But it's also a common Texas male trait. Somebody should probably be worrying about how all this could affect his handling of future encounters with some Saddam Hussein, but that's beyond the scope of this book."

Posted by: lindab | February 6, 2007 1:54 PM

A friend of mine has a book called "Why Mommy is a Democrat". Has anyone seen this book? I'm a Dem tried and true, but it was a bit too liberal even for my tastes. I also thought there was something a bit wrong about my friend presenting this view to such a young child (2 yr old). Anyone have any thoughts? When's a good time to start talking politics?

My parents would never reveal how they'd voted until my siblings and I could vote. Even when we went with them to the polls, we had to wait outside while they went in and pulled levers . . .

Posted by: Funny Book | February 6, 2007 1:54 PM

"There was absolutely no excuse for Nagasaki"

There was no reason for the Japanese gov't NOT to surrender after Hiroshima. But guess what, the gov't did not surrender. The US gov't did contact the Japanese gov't after the first bomb. The Japanses gov't refused to surrender. IMO, The second bomb was the least painful way for all nations to deal with this matter.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 1:54 PM

"WOnder why no one else is jumping on this "truth" if countries around the world hate the US so very much!"

Actually, that's pretty much the attitude Americans took about reports of Jews being rounded up, imprisoned, gassed, and incinerated during the early 1940s.

We didn't want to take it seriously, so we happily swallowed the denials coming from Western Europe.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 1:54 PM

To cmac:

"saving american lives". Roald Takaki has written severl books on the subject documenting the culture of manhood that led to the dropping of the bomb. There is some evidence that the Japanese agreed to surrender so long as they could keep their Emperor. Truman didn't want the emperor so he dropped the bomb. And even if you can justify the first one as saving lives, the second one was clearly saying "screw you" to Russia -- Japan was already conquered.

Posted by: Rita | February 6, 2007 1:56 PM

DD is three and I can't even imagine explaining politics to her. But then again she is speech delayed. But even if she wasn't, I think politics has to be started at a much older age. You can talk about voting and the President as the "leader". But how would a 2 year old understand the issues involved in the war? Now, elementary school seems like a good time to start really discussing some basic political issues. Grade school children are very big on what is fair. And that is a good way to segway into politices.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 6, 2007 1:58 PM

Have any books been written about 9/11 specifically for children?


Catmommy - type September 11 into Amazon and sort by Childrens books, there are several. There is also a book about a tug boat in NYC who worked in the harbor and helped on 9/11

Posted by: moxiemom | February 6, 2007 1:58 PM

I agree with posters who've stated that children should be explained horrible events (like 9/11, but also many other tragedies) in an age-appropriate way --neither all the gruesome details too soon, nor overly-protective shielding. If an adult's explanation is not enough, the child will likely ask more questions, which is the adult's cue to tell more.

Since I live in flyover country, I'd like to point out that a child who actually witnessed the burning buildings in NY or DC in person or saw on TV a building that s/he had personally seen before, might well be even more traumatized than those for whom these sites are only media images.

I also wonder how parents handled explaining the anthrax scare that occurred a month or so after 9/11 to children. At least we know who committed 9/11, while the anthrax senders are evidently still at large, so could plausibly strike again at any time, anywhere.

And, for DC/Md./Va. residents, don't forget the DC snipers, although I believe both suspects have been convicted, right?

Posted by: catlady | February 6, 2007 2:03 PM

anon today - your description of the bullying and how it is handled by parents and administration is exactly right. My daughter has been bullied by a girl that has been bullying and quasi-stalking other children for 4 years. Parents are in an uproar and the adminstration says "my hands are tied." Since obviously nothing is going to be done to stop this child, or remove her from the classroom, the onus is on other parents to teach their kids how to handle a situation they should not even be in.

Perhaps it is just a lesson in life but a hard one for an 8 year old. There are only so many times your kid gets punched and pushed down before the cat claws come out.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 2:03 PM

Does anyone else think that "MasterBayter" is a pretty good name for our new poster?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 2:04 PM

cmac- so what's YOUR real name?? cmac is as anonymous as being anonymous!!!

cmac's real name is Fred!

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 2:05 PM

different politics posted:

"Plus, if sharing similiar political ideologies was a really important in a mate to someone, I would doubt that he/she would marry outside their political party."

I disagree. Political parties are a relatively poor indicator of political ideologies for many of us in the great unwashed middle. Sharing political ideologies was critical to me (and to my husband) in a mate, but that doesn't mean my spouse and I agree on which party is the lesser of two evils and most likely to act in a way consistent with our shared political ideology. Party labels are far less important than one's ideology, at least once you get three steps outside the beltway.

I've been a disgruntled, registered Republican for the last many years and haven't voted for one on a national level since I can remember. Like Fred, I'm really libertarian but there's no viable political home for libertarians so those who like fiscal restraint and keeping the gov't out of our bedrooms are bound to be less than warmly welcomed no matter for which party we vote in a particular election. I'm married to a Southern man for whom party labels carry historical baggage independent of the parties' current platforms.

Beliefs matter. Party affiliation? I'd have to put that wayyyyy down on the list of marriage and dating criteria.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 2:05 PM

Cmac- This bully has been been terrorizing other children since the age of 4? That seems awfully young to be a bully. The kids at my DD's preschool and day care do not seem to have the slightest notion of how to be mean. Don't get me wrong. They are not exactly polite and giving. But it is more pure selfishness then the actual intent to hurt someone else.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 6, 2007 2:06 PM

"And how do you think American parents explained to their children what we did in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?"

Ok, folks, could you get past my ill-chosen example (above) and respond to the point made by an earlier poster (to which I was responding) -- to wit, that 9/11, on the grand scale of events that have changed the world, doesn't really rank up there very high?

Posted by: pittypat | February 6, 2007 2:07 PM

Fred, I thought cmac was a lesbian -- not a guy??

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 2:07 PM

The United States is a nation full of people that have no respect for human life. Is it no wunder why our nation is at war?

Posted by: Toodles | February 6, 2007 2:08 PM

TX Dad of 2, as always, thoughtful. I'm going to avoid the politics here. But the one thing I did want to respond to was your comment about "hating" the President being something a kid must have learned from his parents. I actually laughed out loud at that. When you were a kid, didn't you ever say you "hated" something when you were really unhappy or mad? Isn't that what kids do? Kids have big emotions that they don't know how to control, and little vocabularies with which to express them. So they pick really strong words to show everyone how upset they are.

Personally, I never just fought with a friend, I "hated" her; I never just made up, I "loved" her and we were best friends (at least until the next day, when we hated each other again!). And when I started paying attention to politics, my language was just as strong. But I can guarantee you that I didn't live in a house where people argued or fought or tossed around strong language like that -- heck, my mom was raised a midwestern Methodist, so we were about as polite and quiet as they come. :-) But she still ended up always trying to talk me down from whatever ledge I had perched myself on.

So I'm just not really getting all the posters who seem to believe that the kid's strong language must mean his parents brainwashed him. Could they have? Sure. But could it also just be a kid trying to grapple with strong feelings? Just as likely. Heck, my five-year-old is already throwing the word around when she gets really upset -- and there I am, just like my mom before me, trying to talk her down off of her ledge.

Posted by: Laura | February 6, 2007 2:09 PM

"The Japanses gov't refused to surrender. IMO, The second bomb was the least painful way for all nations to deal with this matter."

The US government did not contact the Japanese government about the bombing until 16 hous after it happened. Nagasaki was bombed three days after Nagasaki, so in effect, Japan was given a day and a half to surrender. Would a few more days been too much to ask.
This is all assuming that it was necessary to bomb Japan in the first place. There were many military experts, including MacArthur, who did not believe that the bombings were necessary tactical measures.

And morally, we killed about 200,000 people, most of them civilians, among them about 2000 Japanese Americans who were not able to get out of Japan in time, and also, hundreds of American prisoners of war. This makes 9/11 look like a drive by shooting. If we had lost the war, what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be considered a war crime. But of course, the winners get to spin how history judges them.

Posted by: Emily | February 6, 2007 2:09 PM

cmac- so what's YOUR real name?? cmac is as anonymous as being anonymous!!!

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 01:53 PM


You are missing the point - even if it is by design. I sign my posts - all of them - and am held responsible for my opinions, etc.

Maybe you have multiple personalities and this blog is an outlet for you afflication - or maybe you just enjoy being a pain in the butt? Who knows? About 2/3 of your posts get no responses because you won't sign them and they are just trash talk - so you are wasting your time. Unless time is all you have - are you in jail?

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 2:10 PM

btw, thanks cmac and Fred for weighing in earlier. I appreciate it.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 2:11 PM

"Look at the enlistment rates after 9/11 - sky rocketed."

"Yeah, but now they've dive-bombed. Same with applications to the military academies"

"Untrue - stop throwing crap hoping some will stick. Or sign your name."

cmac,
You're wrong about this, There have been lots of articles in the past year -- and not just in WaPo -- about how military recruitment has become a real hard-sell and applications to the academies are down by more than 25%.

This is not crap; this is statistical truth.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 2:11 PM

"Plus, if sharing similiar political ideologies was a really important in a mate to someone, I would doubt that he/she would marry outside their political party."

It took me many years to figure out that Fredia was a bleeding heart liberal! At least on some subjects. Funny thing about the kids, the 3 who are adults range from a right-winger to a moderate to a bleeding heart lib.


NC Lawyer,

"Like Fred, I'm really libertarian" ,what makes you say so?

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 2:12 PM


Lizzie wrote (about feelings of guilt/morality in explaining Hiroshima and Nagasaki)

>You're generalizing current-day attitudes towards >people who were finishing up a five-year, two-front >war.

It struck me because this is one of the big problems I've seen in my kids' historical/social education so far, this imposing of a contemporary morality backwards as if it is obvious and absolute. I see it mostly in the coverage of the civil rights struggle (being in Atlanta this is a major topic that gets a lot of attention, for example our county schools closed for Coretta Scott King's funeral; teachers recount their own experiences in segregated schools, etc). Of course I agree with the message of equality and triumph and overcoming what was a very unjust situation . . . but it's just presented in such a way that leaves kids baffled as to why most of society perpetuated an obvious evil --- were they just hateful and mean? stupid? And maybe that's such a fresh iniquity that only an absolute approach, of obvious injustice overcome, works . . . but I think it's worth letting kids know that sometimes the wrongness of a social situation that one's grown up with and always taken for granted only becomes clear either in retrospect, or when leaders arise to ask hard questions and change the social consensus. Things like slavery, expulsion of native Americans, etc that look so clearly wrong in retrospect --- how could good people believe these were just policies? It wasn't just a minority of hateful people who supported them . . . .

On this front reading Laura Ingalls' books with my youngest was great, because you see some characters that are truly good-hearted and trying to do what they feel is good, but who have dated historical views (and parenting views!). It makes for a good entree to point out how public beliefs have changed over time. Also to make clear that, no, we absolutely don't think children should be seen and not heard, or should be spanked, but that parents used to even though they loved their children and only wanted to do their best . . .

Posted by: KB | February 6, 2007 2:13 PM

Catlady,
Yes, both of the DC snipers have been convicted. Many of the shooting in MD were within a few miles of my house and I can tell you that going anywhere in those weeks was very stressful (esp getting gas). Nobody walked anywhere - I was nervous walking my dog at 5:30 in the am. The kids were afraid after one was shot outside of a school.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 2:15 PM

Fred, I thought cmac was a lesbian -- not a guy??


I was just teasing that cmac is me!

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 2:15 PM

"Does anyone else think that "MasterBayter" is a pretty good name for our new poster?"

As in "He's a real jerk-off"?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 2:15 PM

Multi-tasking isn't working too well for me today. I'm beginning to confuse my men. My 2:05 post should have referred to Texas Dad of 2 and not Fred. Sorry, guys.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 2:16 PM

Master Bayter is pATRICK. New day, same schtick.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 2:17 PM

Fred, how was the anniversary weekend?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 2:17 PM

How very very sad that you preach against hate while teaching your son to do so!!!!

Posted by: inNY on 9/11 mom | February 6, 2007 2:17 PM

Re: MasterBayter:
yup.
But at least he appears to know it.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 2:18 PM

How are teachers dealing with the war in civics classes for older kids? They do still teach civics, right?

Posted by: catmommy | February 6, 2007 2:18 PM

foamgnome - ooh I know some NASTY 4 year olds. Maybe it is selfishness, but allowed to go unchecked by parents it becomes hurtful regardless of the intent.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 6, 2007 2:18 PM

"...And morally, we killed about 200,000 people, most of them civilians."

So, morally, how do you justify the Japanese killing US civilians on Dec 7, 1941?

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 2:18 PM

Hi Pittypat -- you said "to wit, that 9/11, on the grand scale of events that have changed the world, doesn't really rank up there very high?"

Keep in mind that I have young ones and I'm experiencing that "protective thing," so although 9/11 may not have changed the world on the grandest of scales, it changed OUR world profoundly. It changed the world I live in, and it altered the world I'll raise my kids in -- in ways that affect them directly and often. So I'm using my kids as an excuse to live in my "bubble," and that's why 9/11 ranks high.

As they get older, we'll have to talk more "globally" and face the grander scale events that changed the world, which will be uncomfortable when our country is cast as the aggressors.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | February 6, 2007 2:19 PM

A friend of mine got Bush paper dolls for my 3 yo for christmas this year. It was a great gift- my daughter gets to play w/ paper dolls while I get a good laugh out of W standing in his underwear and then wearing Laura's ball gown. :)

My daughter's first tv show was as a 4 day old- we watched Meet the Press w/ Bush following the state of the union.

The day she was born, the top news of the day was Kerry winning NH. We actually got the paper out last week on her birthday and had a little chat about it (I saved the Post and TImes form that day)

. I even told her the HILARIOUS story of Dean's crazy outburst. Just told her that he started screaming, people got scared, and didn't think he'd be a good leader of the country. I acted it out so now she yells "We're going all the way to Washington, DC!!! YEEEEAAAAA" We're going all the way to Pennsylvania!!! YYYYEEEEEAAAA" (we live in DC, grandma is in PA) it's funny.

I don't understand why any age is too young. I obviously don't tell her about awful things yet, but it's never too early to talk about our political figures.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 2:19 PM

I was 21 when the Columbine tragedy struck. I was 23 when 9/11 occurred. Before either of those events happened, I was toying with the idea of no kids.

Now, I've completely jumped that fence. In addition to other unrelated factors, those two events in history have helped me make my decision not to have children.

If that makes me selfish, so be it. I'd much rather devote my time and energies to kids that are already here in this world, subject to the horrors that will continue to plague us all.

Posted by: NoKidz | February 6, 2007 2:19 PM

"Maybe you have multiple personalities and this blog is an outlet for you afflication - or maybe you just enjoy being a pain in the butt? Who knows? About 2/3 of your posts get no responses because you won't sign them and they are just trash talk - so you are wasting your time. Unless time is all you have - are you in jail?"

cmac,
Just wanted to let you know that the idiot who is demanding your real name is not the same person who, according to you, was "throwing crap."

That was me, and I'm not him.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 2:20 PM

"Cmac- This bully has been been terrorizing other children since the age of 4? That seems awfully young to be a bully. The kids at my DD's preschool and day care do not seem to have the slightest notion of how to be mean. Don't get me wrong. They are not exactly polite and giving. But it is more pure selfishness then the actual intent to hurt someone else.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 6, 2007 02:06 PM"

I didn't say since 4 - since Kindergarten though. Yes, I agree - it does seem young to be a bully - there is a real problem there. This is the first year my daughter has had her in her class but the bully's reputation preceeded her. The bully picks on many children - verbally and physically, not just mine. The bully's desk gets moved all the time because most kids can not even concentrate next to her. I have to say this teacher has done more then previous teachers but gets stone walled by the administration.

My daughter's friend up the street was getting 5-6 phone calls a day from this bully. The parents had to request the child not call their house anymore and the bully's parents acted like they got 10 calls a week with the same request. It is sad because I think the bully needs professional help, but in the meantime my kid and many others are getting pushed around and harrassed.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 2:21 PM

I even told her the HILARIOUS story of Dean's crazy outburst

My DD age 4 - LOOOOVES Howard Dean's holler. She would listen to it a hundred times if she could. She just laughs and laughs. Thank you Howard Dean.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 6, 2007 2:22 PM

cmac,
Just wanted to let you know that the idiot who is demanding your real name is not the same person who, according to you, was "throwing crap."

That was me, and I'm not him.

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 02:20 PM

Again, who would know? Are you sure you are not him, or is that what the little voice in your head is telling you?

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 2:23 PM

No, they don't teach civics anymore. Technically, it's supposed to be part of "social studies," but it never is that way in practice.
CMAC - I'm so sorry your daughter is the victim of a bully. If all else has failed and this child keeps being a bully, then you should feel empowered to cut her down to size and remind her she is still a child (I'm guessing she does not look like a little Heather Locklear, etc). Stand up for your daughter and feel good about it if no one else is!

Posted by: AnonToday | February 6, 2007 2:23 PM

Yes, Arlington Dad, you're exactly right. 9/11 changed OUR world. I guess that's the difference I was getting at.

Thanks.

Posted by: pittypat | February 6, 2007 2:24 PM

"My 2:05 post should have referred to Texas Dad of 2 and not Fred. Sorry, guys.'"

Never said that I don't have very strong Libertarian leanings.

And to make sure y'all understand, cmac is not me and the other way around.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 2:24 PM

CMAC - you raise a really good issue. At what point do you stop telling your kid to turn the other cheek and give the kid a knuckly sandwich. Sometimes that is just what a bully needs - of course today you'd get sued for assault. If your kid defends herself from a physical attack she's not in trouble but if she punches a kid who ritually taunts her - she's up for assault. I don't think the problem is with kids today, but parents today.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 6, 2007 2:25 PM

Beliefs matter. Party affiliation? I'd have to put that wayyyyy down on the list of marriage and dating criteria.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 02:05 PM

Completely agree, that contrary to the widespread impression of a nation only divided into two unified "red" and "blue" camps, there is a real middle. I can understand how values are more important that party identification. That is a good distinction to make-- between party and values.

Posted by: different politics | February 6, 2007 2:25 PM

Okay, against my better judgment I'll get into this again. (I was at a funeral; the wife of a good friend died Thursday of liver failure. She was 45 and leaves behind a 9 year old son and 14 year old daughter. How's that for a work-life balance issue, especially now? But for whatever reason it kind of puts you in the mood to discuss things like this.)

First, I still don't think this topic is related to work-life balance but if Leslie says it is, whee, here we go.

To those who asked how parents of different political persuasions discuss it with the kids, the answer is - very simply, straightforward. My wife and I belong to different political parties (if you guessed which was which you'd probably be wrong). We both vote person and issue instead of party so we often vote the same way. When we don't we understand why and can tell the kids. "Mom is supporting candidate A because to her the most important issues in this election are X, Y and Z, and she supports candidate A's stands on that. Dad, meanwhile, is supporting candidate B because to Dad the most important issues in this election are M, N, and O, and Dad likes candidate B's viewpoints on those issues. See, kids, it's important to be able to think for yourself, make up your own mind based on what's important to you, and be able to get along with people who hold other opinions."

Our kids, especially now that there are three teenagers, have always been told that they should hold their own views but be able to explain why. Pro-choice? Okay, but why? Pro-life? Sure, got a good reason? Universal health care vs. private insurance? Why? No fair parroting Mom and/or Dad; that's not sufficient. Also not sufficient is the equivalent of "but that's what all the cool kids in school are doing." Yes, at a certain age they don't understand certain things, but as they get older it's important for them to be able to think for themselves. Anything less is unacceptable.

It's just the way I was raised. My parents each voted their own way; mostly they agreed but every now and then they'd differ. I still have vivid recollections of the 1972 Presidential election. I told you above what Dad thought of Nixon. They both thought that McGovern would be an economic disaster for the country. Dad concluded that the right answer was to not vote; Mom believed that holding her nose and voting for Nixon was the less objectionable path. They had some interesting "discussions" about it and I got to learn a lot in the process.

(BTW, thanks for the kind comments about my father by those of you above. He died of a heart attack at age 46, more than 20 years ago - just five years after he retired. Way too much smoking, way too much drinking, and that kind of high stress life-style will do you in. He was far from a perfect man but I tend to think he got the big things right.)

Posted by: Army Brat | February 6, 2007 2:26 PM

Fred, I thought cmac was a lesbian -- not a guy??


I was just teasing that cmac is me!


Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 02:15 PM

I am not fred, I am not a lesbian - not that there is anything wrong with either!

I have to do some real work now, this blog is exhausting me today.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 2:26 PM

So what if the second bomb was a warning to the Soviets. They got the message.

Posted by: To Emily | February 6, 2007 2:27 PM

CMAC: Just taking a guess here, but it seems like this bully has some deeper emotional issues. I think a lot of people are in sure denial about their children's behavior. So the change from selfishness to bully occurs sometime near the last year of preschool and kindergarten. Interesting. I wonder what changes in their social world. I can already see that DD will be a victim. She is socially delayed and cries very easily. Hmm, I am going to have my hands full. Right now, all the kids seem to like her but she seems extremely shy and scared of confrontation.

Posted by: foamgnome | February 6, 2007 2:28 PM

"Again, who would know? Are you sure you are not him, or is that what the little voice in your head is telling you?"

No, cmac, I'm sure. There are at least two of us on this blog who really don't like you, albeit for quite different reasons.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 2:28 PM

So, morally, how do you justify the Japanese killing US civilians on Dec 7, 1941?

I am not justifying even one civilian loss of life, but really, this comparison is ridiculous. Pearl Harbor was an actual naval base. The civilian casualties at Pearl harbor were about 100, the military casualties may have been between 2 and 3 thousand. In any case, the scale of Pearl Harbor was tiny when compared to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which completely decimated 2 cities and hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Get real!!

Posted by: Emily | February 6, 2007 2:28 PM

My kids were 5 and 3 when 9-11 happened and still remember the day, particularly the images of the plane crashing into a building. how soon we forget, we could not avoid those images for -3weeks at least. those thoughts are ingrained into their young memories. i am impressed your son wanted to know more. i think its great your kid is thinking, being a journalist i know you tell him he cannot believe everything he reads. Mine constantly ask are we republican or democrats, and share less than a positive view of Bush. part of that is from thier parents, the other part is just the concensus of the genreal population. Despite what we think, our kids are not sheltered. they are not sheltered from others views at school, our own unconscious views and the public views that are on TV everyday and night. the majority of us have our political views because we mirror our parents. Shocked you mentioned your 8 year old and the F word. I have rarely heard mine say dam. at 8, that would have changed the conversation briefly.

Posted by: RobGreg | February 6, 2007 2:28 PM

"So, morally, how do you justify the Japanese killing US civilians on Dec 7, 1941?"

Where's the Christian love here? You hit me, I hit you back. We're warned against that in kindergarten. The ovarian cancer rate among women from areas affected by the bombing is 28 times greater that that of American women. So, we used a horrible horrible technology that we didn't understand and people are still dying because of it.

Posted by: Rita | February 6, 2007 2:29 PM

I don't have kids yet, so I'm not sure what the right age for this talk is, but at some point, it may help kids who are bullied to know that bullies act the way they do because they are insecure. Usually bullies are just sad for one reason or another -- no friends, bad home life, some bad personality trait, etc. It might help kids who are bullied if they can learn to pity and not fear a bully.

Incidentally, some schoolyard bullies grow up to be adult bullies. This is when whatever character flaw turned them into bullies really comes out...

Posted by: catmommy | February 6, 2007 2:29 PM

I DO think 9/11 fundamentally changed geo-politics.

How many large-scale terrorist acts had been conducted in North America before then?

Only a handful. Pearl Harbor, WTC #1, whatever name you want to give to what happened to the American Indians...and what else?

So, the change is that North Americans are subject to the conditions (foreign-originated terror) that Eurasians and Africans have been subject to forever. This isn't a haven anymore. Most people think we are no longer innoculated (sp?) against Routine Terror. That's significant in my book.

I also think (opinion, not fact) that there is a Psychosis to being "trapped" in a plane going down or "trapped" in a building on fire. I don't think there is the same fear associated with merely being in a building that blows up, like in Oklahoma City. There's the fear of being trapped that grips people. But, I'm no expert.

Posted by: Random Guy | February 6, 2007 2:30 PM

"So what if the second bomb was a warning to the Soviets. They got the message."

I think you are exactly right on that one. The second bomb was to show the Soviets that we had the bomb and were willing to use it. It still does not justify killing about 70,000 innocent people to make that point. We are so quick to point out the crimes against humanity that Hussein (and others) committed, but we can't even acknowledge the worse crimes against humanity that our own government has committed for the sake of expediency.

Posted by: Emily | February 6, 2007 2:32 PM

Army Brat, you said it far better than I.

and I am very sorry to hear about your friend's loss, and his or her children.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 2:33 PM

bullying by boys is easy to detect. it is physical and loud. teachers see it, victims have bruises or cuts to show for it. in some ways, it is easier to handle.

bullying by girls is a whole lot tougher. there's a lot of gossiping, backstabbing, emotional hurts, ostracizing, etc. it's a b!tch to tame.

Posted by: billy bob | February 6, 2007 2:33 PM

"I am not justifying even one civilian loss of life, but really, this comparison is ridiculous. Pearl Harbor was an actual naval base. The civilian casualties at Pearl harbor were about 100, the military casualties may have been between 2 and 3 thousand. In any case, the scale of Pearl Harbor was tiny when compared to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which completely decimated 2 cities and hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Get real!!"

Emily is absolutely right.

We Americans have the bad habit of equating our small-scale tragedies with other countries' appallingly massive-scale tragedies.

Truth is, no, we don't feel their pain. We just act like we do.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 2:34 PM

To KLB SS MD: Thanks for the update on the DC snipers. We used to live in Wheaton, so took particular notice when some of the first shootings occurred within about a mile of our old home.

Posted by: catlady | February 6, 2007 2:35 PM

There are several topics that my 19-year-old son and I have to avoid talking about in order to keep the peace. I'm a liberal, democrat, atheist and believe it or not a military retiree. My son is a christian, fairly conservative and doesn't like to hear me say bad things about GB (which I avoid doing in his presence). I've accepted that he has his own views, formed independently of me. He's a bright, curious, respectful young man. I'm very proud of him. Being his mother has taught me that children are not blank pages that we can fill up with our opinions. They are their own people right from the start.

Posted by: Melt | February 6, 2007 2:36 PM

CMAC - you raise a really good issue. At what point do you stop telling your kid to turn the other cheek and give the kid a knuckly sandwich. Sometimes that is just what a bully needs - of course today you'd get sued for assault. If your kid defends herself from a physical attack she's not in trouble but if she punches a kid who ritually taunts her - she's up for assault. I don't think the problem is with kids today, but parents today.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 6, 2007 02:25 PM

My daughter has the go ahead to give the knuckly sandwich, but she is not a confrontational kid. My daughter is also on the smallish side and this bully is about (literally) twice her weight and a head taller then her - so she is physically intimidating. We told her to stay away from the bully as much as possible, defend yourself if you have to, but always tell the teacher when something happens. I am not a big fan of tattle tales but this is different. This would be a good topic for the blog though - bullies are life long problems.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 2:36 PM

My son is 6, he's being brought up Muslim, and we have travelled back and forth to the Middle East (for my work) several times since his birth. To not teach my son about the world we live in would be negligent, IMO.

I never knew my parents political bents until I was a grown adult, out of the house. I gained my own political views from a mish-mash of my peers, as I guess most kids, in the end, do, no matter how much we think their parents influence them.

There are difficult conversations to have with our children. How do I explain to my muslim child why he is getting patted down on a runway ramp (happened in London in August after the recent terroist scare) in an objective manner?

Honestly, I find it much more difficult to be objective about explaining events to him, than by worrying about over-exposing him to too frightening of details, that is rather natural and easy to do when you follow your intuition. Objectivity? Much harder!

Posted by: DiploMom | February 6, 2007 2:38 PM

No, cmac, I'm sure. There are at least two of us on this blog who really don't like you, albeit for quite different reasons.

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 02:28 PM

I shall cry all night.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 2:39 PM

My husband and I can't even talk politics with each other. We agree on some issues, but disagree fundamentally and to the core on other issues. Not sure how that will work out if and when we have kids, but we may have to stick to the basics -- what is a republic/democracy, what is voting, are the three branches of government and what do they do, etc. I think our children will have to make up their own minds to avoid civil war at home.

Posted by: catmommy | February 6, 2007 2:41 PM

I see and appreciate your point. But I would argue that by using the bomb it helped prevent its further use. If we had firebombed those cities -- like Dresden -- maybe the Soviets don't get the message and we end up in a shooting war, where more innocents are lost.

Posted by: To Emily | February 6, 2007 2:42 PM

"whatever name you want to give to what happened to the American Indians"

You mean forcibly driven from their homeland? Having another civilization's culture, mores, beliefs, and demands shoved down their throats? Being deprived of land rights? Being systematically sickened by European diseases never before encountered on this continent? Being demonized, demoralized, robbed of dignity?

Is that what you mean by "what happened to the American Indians"?

And, by the way, Pearl Harbor didn't happen on North American soil (e.g., our shores).

And, given that only a few thousand Americans died at Pearl Harbor and only a handful at WTC1, these hardly equate with the boundless suffering inflicted on American Indians.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 2:42 PM

"How do I explain to my muslim child why he is getting patted down on a runway ramp (happened in London in August after the recent terroist scare) in an objective manner?"

The same way African American parents explain to their kids why they get followed around stores and pulled over for DWB.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 2:43 PM

"This would be a good topic for the blog though - bullies are life long problems."

and it seems, cmac, as if we have at least one or two around here who are feeling the need to select their targets by name.

Isn't it interesting the way adult-aged bullies continue to seek environments where their targets can't really strike them back? what an indicator of less than adequate cojones.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 2:46 PM

"And, by the way, Pearl Harbor didn't happen on North American soil (e.g., our shores)."

Hawaii, at that time, was a territory of the US. The civilians killed there were US citizens.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 2:47 PM

"How do I explain to my muslim child why he is getting patted down on a runway ramp (happened in London in August after the recent terroist scare) in an objective manner?"

The same way African American parents explain to their kids why they get followed around stores and pulled over for DWB.

How about the same way this white male veteran is searched by the TSA?

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 2:48 PM

from Emily:

I am not justifying even one civilian loss of life, but really, this comparison is ridiculous. Pearl Harbor was an actual naval base. The civilian casualties at Pearl harbor were about 100, the military casualties may have been between 2 and 3 thousand. In any case, the scale of Pearl Harbor was tiny when compared to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which completely decimated 2 cities and hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Get real!!

_____________________

Emily, I'm probably polluted from being educated at dependent schools :-), but the way I learned history:

- Pearl Harbor (and Hickham and Wheeler Fields, Schofield Barracks and all the other targets) were military installations belonging to a nation with which no hostilities existed. That's a huge, huge difference.

- The atomic bombs were dropped when Truman and his subordinates deemed them the least of the evils facing them. The consensus (maybe unanimous?) opinion was that the Japanese weren't going to surrender without the home islands being taken or some other catastrophic (for the Japanese) event. Estimates were that 2 million Americans were going to die in an invasion of the home islands. Estimates - based on what happened at Saipan, and other battles - were that there would be a tremendous number of civilian casualties in the event of an invasion. So, to Truman and staff, the choices were: (a) drop the bombs, kill 200,000 civilians, and hope that ended it; or (b) invade, lose 2 million Americans, and several million Japanese. Given those choices, (a) doesn't look too bad.

(Yes, I'm aware that there's now a school of (revisionist) history that asserts that the 2 million number was off by a factor of 2 or even 4. But, even so you're looking at 500,000 Americans plus still several million Japanese. If you look at the big picture, the decision made by Truman doesn't look so bad.)

And as far as the second bomb being dropped to show the Soviets, I think that myth has been widely debunked. The first bomb was enough to convince them the technology worked (and remember that due to their spy networks they already pretty much knew the scope of the effort).

Posted by: Army Brat | February 6, 2007 2:49 PM

This is not crap; this is statistical truth.


Posted by: | February 6, 2007 02:11 PM

Care to post your "statistical truth?" I googled Enlistment rates and came up with a different picture. This is what I mean by crap, just because you say it is so does not mean I have to believe it.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 2:49 PM

We killed about as many American citizens in Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the Japanese killed in Pearl Harbor.

Posted by: Emily | February 6, 2007 2:49 PM

Bullies are definitely a lifelong problem. We all encounter daily those who are rude, condescending, pushy, and demeaning. My boss routinely treats me like sh*t and then wonders why I don't jump at the slightest to help him out of a crisis that was all his doing because he thinks he's above all of it(i'm waiting for him to get fired BTW. I like my job- can't stand him)

I still look back sadly from my school experiences. I think if you're a girl, you have somw awful stories of how other girls treated you in school. I was "popular" and it was still horrible. There was a huge fuss when, in junior year of high school, I left the "in" crowd. Yes, I'm being serious- it was like i committed a felony. I couldn't handle all of the in fighting, boyfriend stealing, just straight out meanness that came from these kids! I then endured 2 years of pure heck. Writing on my locker, name calling down the hall, etc...Girls are cruel. I'd rather take 1 punch and leave it at that anyday.

I guess my parents got it right with me somewhere- I was able to muck through it w/ self esteem and I didn't lose my mind. I started to get involved with important things (volunteerng on campaigns, music)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 2:50 PM

Fred,

Come on, you're not targeted day in - day out by law enforcement as a security or crime risk. You're not seriously equating your occasional encounter with the TSA with the daily encounters of black and Muslim males with institutional profiling, are you?

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 2:50 PM

"How do I explain to my muslim child why he is getting patted down on a runway ramp (happened in London in August after the recent terroist scare) in an objective manner?"

Uhm, sorry, wasn't clear - my point wasn't that he was being discriminated against (they were patting down all of us), my point is how do I explain that "bad people want to do bad things to us"...and oh, by the way, their common denominator is that they are the same religion as you.

Posted by: DiploMom | February 6, 2007 2:51 PM

"Hawaii, at that time, was a territory of the US. The civilians killed there were US citizens."

Fred,

I tried to forestall your predictable objection by specifying "North American soil" and "our shores." Seems you didn't pick up on that.

I wasn't talking about citizenship; I wasn't saying that Pearl Harbor didn't happen to Americans or that it didn't happen on U.S.-protected soil.

I was talking specifically about events that occurred on the North American mainland continent.

Please retract your jerking knee.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 2:51 PM

Good Grief! I was NOT trivializing what happened to American Indians, simply signifying that there was no one-word expression that is commonly used to capture it (e.g., "slavery.")

Why would you assume I would trivialize what happened to the Indians?

Good god there is just a "shoot first ask questions later" flavor to the blog today.

Okay, every day.

Posted by: Random Guy | February 6, 2007 2:51 PM

...and thanks for the lecture on where Hawaii is, geographically. I have always wondered about that. :-p

Posted by: Random Guy | February 6, 2007 2:53 PM

to army brat and those who defend dropping the bomb.....

sensible people reach the same conclusion based on the same facts. that's why the govt controls what facts leak out. the american version of history says we had no choice but to drop those bombs, ... so a million lives could be saved. absolutely no choice. what do you think the japanese version says? or the french? or the chinese version?

the truth is, we can debate ourselves blue in the face and never really know the truth. we are debating against folks with the same sensibilities but different facts. you know, if all the facts were on the table, we'd all be in agreement.

funny how we've all been played by our govt.

Posted by: billy bob | February 6, 2007 2:53 PM

Isn't it interesting the way adult-aged bullies continue to seek environments where their targets can't really strike them back? what an indicator of less than adequate cojones.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 02:46 PM

I usually ignore all the anonymous posts aimed at me or anyone because it is just feeding the beast (or blog bully if you will), but today I engaged them and got sucked into their little anonymous world.

Blog Bullies are poopy-heads.

Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 2:54 PM

"The same way African American parents explain to their kids why they get followed around stores and pulled over for DWB."

That hit a nerve.

I am still wondering how I will explain this when the time comes.

Posted by: Proud Papa | February 6, 2007 2:54 PM

NC Lawyer:

No problemo. I knew you meant me when you wrote Fred. And as I think I was the only other person on the blog today that used the word libertarian, I figured most posters would catch on. Hopefully Fred didn't mind the comparison to much. :~)

Laura:

Maybe my wording was too harsh, but in my household we also are fairly sensitive to the word "hate". We don't use it, we don't let the kids use it, and correct them when they do--except in the proper context. Terrorists who would use bombs to indiscriminately murder innocents clearly "hate". But I surely wouldn't let my kids use it in context of the President of the United States, in response to policies they pursue (or don't pursue.) That would cheapen what should be the harsh, bright line definition, and would do something even worse--it allow my kids to stop thinking...

To the pleasant anon poster:
My profession has been described here many times, and I'd be happy to repeat it, but I make it a habit not to answer those without enough cahones to sign their posts. It encourages troll growth. I also presumed your question was only rhetorical in nature, but without background I couldn't say. FYI, those that read my insane musings are used to my magnum opus length. It's admittedly a bad habit. Though if you didn't read it, I can't imagine why you'd bother to complain about the length...

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | February 6, 2007 2:56 PM

Blog Bullies are poopy-heads.


Posted by: cmac | February 6, 2007 02:54 PM


showing once again that a sense of humor is the best defense :>)

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 2:56 PM

Is billy bob really tor125 in disguise?

Posted by: DC lurker | February 6, 2007 2:57 PM

"Pearl Harbor (and Hickham and Wheeler Fields, Schofield Barracks and all the other targets) were military installations belonging to a nation with which no hostilities existed."

Please also note that there were civilians in city of Honolulu killed.

Please also note that the means for production of military materials were widely decentralized in the two Japanese cities. Civilians, in their personal residences, manufactured rifles, pistols, casing for munitions, parts for aircraft and other materials. These parts were eventually brought to an assembly & distribution points. The centers for production of military material have always been considered a fair target.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 2:57 PM

Army Brat,
I have seen that argument, but it also has another side: From Wikipedia:

"One of the most notable individuals with this opinion [that the bombings were militarily unnecessary] was then-General Dwight D. Eisenhower. He wrote in his memoir The White House Years:

"In 1945 Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives."[62][63]
Other U.S. military officers who disagreed with the necessity of the bombings include General Douglas MacArthur (the highest-ranking officer in the Pacific Theater), Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy (the Chief of Staff to the President), General Carl Spaatz (commander of the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific), and Brigadier General Carter Clarke (the military intelligence officer who prepared intercepted Japanese cables for U.S. officials),[63] and Admiral Ernest King, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, Undersecretary of the Navy Ralph A. Bard,[64] and Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet.[65]

"The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan." Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.[66]
"The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender." Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman.[66]
The United States Strategic Bombing Survey, after interviewing hundreds of Japanese civilian and military leaders after Japan surrendered, reported:

"Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated."[67][66]

What was originally the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall has now been turned into the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. The atomic bomb exploded almost directly overhead.The survey assumed that continued conventional bombing attacks on Japan--with additional direct and indirect casualties--would be needed to force surrender by the November or December dates mentioned.

Many, including General MacArthur, have contended that Japan would have surrendered before the bombings if the U.S. had notified Japan that it would accept a surrender that allowed Emperor Hirohito to keep his position as titular leader of Japan, a condition the U.S. did in fact allow after Japan surrendered. U.S. leadership knew this, through intercepts of encoded Japanese messages, but refused to clarify Washington's willingness to accept this condition. Before the bombings, the position of the Japanese leadership with regards to surrender was divided. Several diplomats favored surrender, while the leaders of the Japanese military voiced a commitment to fighting a "decisive battle" on Kyūshū, hoping that they could negotiate better terms for an armistice afterward. The Japanese government did not decide what terms, beyond preservation of an imperial system, they would have accepted to end the war; as late as August 9, the Supreme War Council was still split, with the hard-liners insisting Japan should demobilize its own forces, no war crimes trials would be conducted, and no occupation of Japan would be allowed. Only the direct intervention of the emperor ended the dispute, and even then a military coup was attempted to prevent the surrender."

Posted by: Emily | February 6, 2007 2:59 PM

So first NC lawyer kills my right funny bone with the cojones line, then cmac kills my left funny bone with poopy-heads....If I laugh too hard, people will start looking at me very strangely.

Posted by: dotted | February 6, 2007 3:00 PM

Fred,
I'm sorry, I just cannot buy your arguments here on the necessity of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and with all due respect, I am sickened by these rationalizations. So we just need to drop it and change the subject.

Posted by: Emily | February 6, 2007 3:00 PM

If we had lost the war, what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be considered a war crime. But of course, the winners get to spin how history judges them.


Posted by: Emily | February 6, 2007 02:09 PM


oh please. did we start ww2? nope. but we certainly finished it. japan deserved it.

Posted by: dc | February 6, 2007 3:01 PM

"what do you think the japanese version says? or the french? or the chinese version?"

This is why professional historians, which I am trained to be, examine a wide variety of sources. I've looked at Japanese, German, and Russian histories of the war (although there isn't that much material available on the Eastern Front). Their work is pretty much the same as the American stuff. Some of it is incisive, well-researched, and well-written. Some of it is dreck. Some of it suffers from malformed perspective. Some is very even-handed. This, with the exception of some of the Soviet archives, is information that's available to anyone who cares to look at it; one of my advisors is in Asia right now researching a book on the Japanese occupation of a number of Asian countries. (He says it is unimaginably depressing work.)

"you know, if all the facts were on the table, we'd all be in agreement."

This is absolutely untrue.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 6, 2007 3:02 PM

And TDof2 at 2:56, you get points for laugh-inducement also.

Posted by: dotted | February 6, 2007 3:03 PM

"Fred,

Come on, you're not targeted day in - day out by law enforcement as a security or crime risk. You're not seriously equating your occasional encounter with the TSA with the daily encounters of black and Muslim males with institutional profiling, are you?"

NC Lawyer, No I am commenting on the loss of my (and others) civil liberties. That the TSA arbitrarily targets me for search without probable cause.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 3:04 PM

Texas Father of 2:

I understand why you don't let your kid use the word "hate" in certain contexts. But to my mind, hate is an emotion that everybody feels, justified or unjustified, at one time or another in life. In my opinion, it is important to name the emotion I'm feeling as a way of working through it. As a child, I was also forbidden to "hate" and it was difficult for me not to name my emotion as such -- I think that a conscientious (sp?) use of the word can help deconstruct and understand that feeling. Hate is an emotion, and emotions are not always under our control, no matter what we call them.

Posted by: Rita | February 6, 2007 3:05 PM

"No I am commenting on the loss of my (and others) civil liberties. That the TSA arbitrarily targets me for search without probable cause."

There is no probable cause requirement for searches related to air travel. Same with border crossing.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:06 PM

foamgnome, I recognized bulleying tendencies in my annoying son as early as 1 and a half. He is the opposite of "lunchmoney", but I've been trying my best to teach him sportmansship. It's not easy.

Here are some of the things I'v done:
1. Pull him from the basketball court and have him clap and say "good shot" when his friend makes a shot.

2. Go through with football, even though the team he plays on looses almost every game.

3. I tell him never to hit a girl, he will go to jail for that even though the girl hit him first.

4. Be the protector of girls, especially the small ones.

5. Be the protector of the physically weak and handicapped.

6. Signed him up for Tae Kwon Doe, which teaches him not only might for right, but how to take an aggressor out, as a last resort, in 5 seconds.

I hope I'm doing things right. The kid needs a lot of work, but he seems to be coming along.

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 6, 2007 3:07 PM

News flash: war stinks for the civilians of any country involved in same. Do you think the innocent civilians living in and around Atlanta didn't suffer during Sherman's march to the sea? Should the US government issue an apology to the residents of South Carolina and Georgia for the loss of human life in that campaign? Like the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it arguably hastened the end of a horrible war.

The civilians residing in countries at war suffer greatly and are at the mercy of their ruling governments to choose such wars carefully, if there's a choice, an end them swiftly, if that's possible. Choosing one's government carefully is about the only choice civilians living in democratic nations have. Civilians in other political systems are left with only crossing their fingers.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:07 PM

why couldn't the US have dropped bombs on hirohito's palace? conventional bombs. firebombs. that would have broken the spirit of the people and ended the war w/o annihilating 70,000 citizens.

undoubtedly racism had a lot to do with it. just go back and look at the cartoons: jap monkeys with buck teeth. horrible.

the war in europe had just ended in the summer of 1945. the nation was impatient for an end to the pacific war. dropping the bomb was the most shocking and expedient thing to do. the enemy had been dehumanized. war does that.

yeah, we really had no choice but to kill 70,000 men women children, elderly, innocent civilians.

Posted by: billy bob | February 6, 2007 3:07 PM

Last year my kindergartner came home crying because 2 girls that she thought were her friends had called her "scribble baby" and said that she couldn't "color right." These were all 5 year olds. Girls can be very, very mean at an early age.

Boys, too, I suppose, but I don't have any real experience there.

I plan on home schooling my daughters from 7th to 9th grade. I was bullied mercilessly during those years. It can be devastating.

Posted by: JSC | February 6, 2007 3:08 PM

to Feb 6 at 2:51

Please retract your jerking knee..."

There are some documented cases of deaths on the US mainland caused by enemy action. I believe this occured in Wash state or Oregan.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 3:09 PM

"the enemy had been dehumanized. war does that."

This is a good point. It's worthwhile to note that the Japanese were also busy ginning up racist characterizations of Americans. A very good book about racism on both sides of the Pacific war is "War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War," by John Dower. Dower's work is really excellent and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 6, 2007 3:12 PM

Pull your heads out of the sand. I know it seems hard to beleive, but false flag attacks are more a rule than an excpetion when a war is wanted. Gulf of Tonkin [Vietnam, see web for more examples]
Also, look at the video 9/11 mysteries. You will see the towers came down as if controlled demolition was used, which it was. It would take about 24000 demolition charges for the two towers and building 7, taking maybe a few months to install and wire to the controller. That would have required a well organized operation and making sure everybody knowing about it was kept under lock until completed then very likely killed. An operation like this could not have been done by people without the right connection. Bush's brother Marvin was the ceo in the company which controlled security in WTC. That would make this possible. You have to read more about this on the Finnish website I pointed to above, about 1:23pm. It will take some time to digest all the horrible crime details behind 9/11
The planes and fuel fires had nothing to do with the collapse of the buildings, was just part of the BIG LIE

Posted by: Tor125 | February 6, 2007 3:13 PM

Seventh, eighth, and ninth grades are especially bad years for bullying and teasing. I remember those days well, along with the cliques, nastiness, rumors and name-calling. It is an awful time. But I also think it is part of growing up. I figure, I survived, sure my son can also.

Posted by: Emilyu | February 6, 2007 3:14 PM

NC Lawyer, No I am commenting on the loss of my (and others) civil liberties. That the TSA arbitrarily targets me for search without probable cause.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 03:04 PM

Thanks, Fred. Now I'm hearing what you're saying without the static of my initial interpretation. Thanks! and I agree entirely with your characterization of what TSA does.

Posted by: NC Lawyer | February 6, 2007 3:15 PM

Seventh, eighth, and ninth grades are especially bad years for bullying and teasing. I remember those days well, along with the cliques, nastiness, rumors and name-calling. It is an awful time. But I also think it is part of growing up. I also think that we are more aware of bullying and take more anti-bullying measures (at least at my son's school) than they did when I was a kid. I figure it should be okay if we are vigilant and proactive.

Posted by: Emilyu | February 6, 2007 3:15 PM

"I was bullied mercilessly during those years. It can be devastating."

It can also teach valuable skills about how to deal with difficult people, and if all else fails, how to have a thick skin.

I just hope your girls aren't even more devastated about missing junior high dances than they would have been about some hypothetical bullying.

Pulling them out of school because of some mean kids teaches them to run away -- a lesson that was only valuable for Forrest Gump.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:16 PM

"Fred,
I'm sorry, I just cannot buy your arguments here on the necessity of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and with all due respect, I am sickened by these rationalizations. So we just need to drop it and change the subject."

OK, to make up for my rationalization and the fact my father, uncle, (now) uncle in law did not have to invade Japan in 1946 and to make up for my guilt over my country dropping the bomb, I will commit seppuku.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 3:17 PM

DiploMom

I tell my kids that Muslims are good people, but a small number want to harm people, and do so in the name of religion. Other people have done bad things in the name of other religions throughout history.

Posted by: experienced mom | February 6, 2007 3:19 PM


Re: your guiding your son in usage of "the F-word" and respect for the office of the President of the United States.

Thank you, Mr. Fox, for reminding me why I so seldom read the Washington Post.

Posted by: Warren | February 6, 2007 3:20 PM

tor125, you are a trip!

i'd love to hear your opinions on global warming.

Posted by: billy bob | February 6, 2007 3:20 PM

Hmm...not sure that bullying is a normal part of growing up. When I was younger, I was on the receiving end of a lot of racist comments from both blacks and whites. It was absolutely devastating, and I wouldn't wish that on anyone as a way to "toughen" up. My sister was actually pushed and shoved a couple of times too. 100% unacceptable.

Posted by: Arlington | February 6, 2007 3:21 PM

OK, to make up for my rationalization and the fact my father, uncle, (now) uncle in law did not have to invade Japan in 1946 and to make up for my guilt over my country dropping the bomb, I will commit seppuku.

No, Fred, please don't disembowel yourself. That is not at all necessary. But it would be nice if you just shut up.

And I'm glad that your relative did not have to invade Japan. That can be the silver lining of the cloud consisting of the deaths of 200,000 people.

Posted by: Emily | February 6, 2007 3:21 PM

is tor125 the same poster as mcewen but on different meds?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:23 PM

"I plan on home schooling my daughters from 7th to 9th grade."

If everyone else can handle it, you are singling your girls out as the weak members of the herd. This will cause far more damage than a little junior high backstabbing and namecalling. They will be the antelope that get eaten by the tiger on the Discovery Channel.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:24 PM

Emily,

OK, we respectfully disagree and I will retain my intestines! I am a bit impressed that you know what seppuku is!

May I talk about other subjects?

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 3:25 PM

Fred,
Yes, please, let's talk about other subjects. In fact, I apologize for saying shut up. I was sorry the second I hit the submit button.

Posted by: Emily | February 6, 2007 3:28 PM

Can't believe I'm commenting on a subject I tried purposely to stay out of, but here goes:

I've also read the history (some of it clearly revisionary--anyone the remember the endless discussions that preceded the Enola Gay exhibit at Air and Space museum?) but unless unless I misread, one of the motivations had to do with the technical issues of the bomb itself at that time.

Bomb material at that time was new, very hard to come by, and VERY expensive. I have always suspected that there may have been some calculation on the Japanese part that maybe we could only manage enough material to actually pull off that first bomb, and still they may have still had the "prove it" attitude, showing us they could take a singl devastating blow. Regardless of the Emperor portion (that I have also read), I wonder how much of the surrender snetiment finally came about when they saw we could manage more than one, and (maybe) many more? Could that have been what finally changed their opinion?

And as with all other posts I've done today, I wonder how outdated this will by the time I post?

**sigh**

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | February 6, 2007 3:29 PM

Emily,

Cause, every regular here knows I love to talk about BF. :)

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 3:29 PM

Bullying certainly is a normal part of growing up- though it shouldn't be. It's had ramifications in my life to this day. I started out with a lot of friends, etc in middle school. I think 8th grade was the best year of my life (for the school years) It started to get nasty in high school. I was a little artsy/expressive in a very white school- all preps, lacrosse playing, nice car driving...you know the deal...I shut myself off and spent high school with few friends and no boyfriends. I ran to the city as soon as I could and have flourished since. But I still look back on those years in a negative light. I never went to prom, never went to parties, never did school spirit stuff. Did I miss out? I was trying to protect myself from pain, but I feel like I missed out on some things.

I wouldn't keep your kids home for 7-9th. They might miss their lives.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:30 PM

I guess that makes me an antelope, as well. I just can't describe what I went through during those years, but I will tell you that it led to suicide attempts and being committed to institutions several times during my adolescence.

Being bullied can be a part of growing up for some. It can also lead to experiences like mine and those involved in Columbine.

What's wrong with my daughters staying home for a few years? There are so many other ways for them to socialize.

Posted by: JSC | February 6, 2007 3:31 PM

"And I'm glad that your relative did not have to invade Japan. That can be the silver lining of the cloud consisting of the deaths of 200,000 people.

Posted by: Emily | February 6, 2007 03:21 PM "

Japanese civilians jumped off cliffs with their babies rather than be captured. Brain-washing their citizens to kill themsleves and their children was a "clue" that Japan was taking their "fight to the last man" seriously. It was a mindset the US could not fight without devastating losses - despite what wikipedia says.

Posted by: CMAC | February 6, 2007 3:31 PM

"I googled Enlistment rates and came up with a different picture."

Oooh, cmac. Is this the "real work" you said you were leaving to do?

Well, for starters, check out this website and its related links: http://www.military.com/NewContent/0,13190,Defensewatch_040705_Perry,00.html

Then, go on to http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,166566,00.html
and http://stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=23905&archive=true
and
http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,FL_academy_061405,00.html

As you can see, I've provided you with addresses to resources you'd be likely to believe instead of resources you'd dismiss as liberal-pandering rags.

Guess you'll be busy this afternoon washing all that crap off the walls.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:31 PM

"I have always suspected that there may have been some calculation on the Japanese part that maybe we could only manage enough material to actually pull off that first bomb,"

You may be right. As a matter of fact, we only had enough U-235 for one bomb. The bomb we dropped on Nagasaki was a plutonium bomb; plutonium was easier to produce in quantities necessary for a bomb.

For most of the war, Germany was far ahead of us in nuclear research. Thank God they didn't catch up.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 6, 2007 3:31 PM

oh, yeah, forgot about mcewen- where'd he run off to?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:32 PM

Yeah, think about 7-9th grades. First crushes, first boy-girl parties, first kisses, first boyfriends, etc., not to mention finding a place in a group that will soften the blows of high school. Starting high school in 10th grade with no safety net of good friends could ruin a girl for life!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:35 PM

talking about the bomb, iran is pretty far along.... until mossad took out their top nuclear scientist. hooray!

Posted by: billy bob | February 6, 2007 3:35 PM

Actually, I just read a book that said that the second bomb was another form of uranium (238 I think). It is apparently a common misconception the second bomb was plutonium.

Posted by: s | February 6, 2007 3:35 PM

9-11 did change us. The Ameican people supported and invasion and war for the first time since Vietnam, and our government has proven that no military can force peace.

My 2c on the WW II in the Pacific:

Pearl Harbor - broughts us in.

Bataan Death March - let us taste defeat.

Guadalcanal - showed we could win - and at what cost. (Thin Red line)

The Rape of Nanking/The Burma Road - showed how the co-prosperity sphere was hollow and brutal (Bridge Over the River Kwai)

Death on the Hell Ships - showed how the Empire would care for the defeated

Iwo Jima - proved that the enemy would fight to the last man for native soil (Flags, Letters)

US civilians died in many more places than in Hawaii. My uncle died on a hellship (the "Benjo Maru") as he was being shipped from Manilla after surviving the brutality of being slave labor to build an airfield - by hand. His shipmates became human shields in Japan. He was a civilian worker for Standard Oil.

Our Military fought to win, and the bombs, horrific as they were - expedited that victory most efficiently for our side.

Total War was in progress on a global scale and the cost in manpower, resources and time were weighed vs the costs in enemy lives, infrastructure and psych ops.

The United States and our leadership in the world took a significant blow in termsof philosophical integrity, honor and reputation. We can only hope that We the People can be the true ambassadors of American ideals.

Leadership of the free world is a burden. Either we bear that burden or retreat to our isolationist shores.

Given the state of Japan today - I'd say both Japan and the US won the peace.

How we do that in Iraq is another question - looks to me that we should declare victory an get outa dodge. We broke it - lookin for WMD. Werent welcomed as liberators, tried to fix it, failed, bye. We should send in enough troops for an orderly retreat. I support our troops, they are doing a great job. BUT - they were trained to fight - NOT trained to run a hostile colony.

But WTFDIK?


Posted by: Fo3 | February 6, 2007 3:35 PM

I propose we ban wikipedia as a source on this blog. Ho hum...

Posted by: catmommy | February 6, 2007 3:36 PM

I'm not disappointed.

As usual, the topic was over by the time I got to post about it.

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | February 6, 2007 3:36 PM

Your kids' lives is not your life. If you were car jacked a few years back would you forbid your daughters from a car? If you were raped at college, would you forbid your daughters from going to college?

You can't let your fears and anxieties run their lives. Most kids don't handle it by attempting suicide. From your experience- you'll be able to better help your kids IF they do get bullied to a point that severe. IF and only IF- they probably won't. Unless severe depression runs in your family- but that's a FAMILY issue, not a as-yet-to-be-named fictional bully.

Don't ruin your kids' lives because of something you went through.

Posted by: to JSC | February 6, 2007 3:37 PM

"I just can't describe what I went through during those years, but I will tell you that it led to suicide attempts and being committed to institutions several times during my adolescence."

Your daughters are not you. Your experiences are not their experiences. Part of parenting is being able to separate your own life, experiences, and needs from those of your children. The odds that your daughters will suffer the same kind of torment you did are minimal - and presumably, you would be willing to work with the school to nip it in the bud.

Posted by: Lizzie | February 6, 2007 3:38 PM

Pulling them out of school because of some mean kids teaches them to run away -- a lesson that was only valuable for Forrest Gump.

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 03:16 PM

I wouldn't keep your kids home for 7-9th. They might miss their lives.

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 03:30 PM

So much snarkery, so little time.

Let's hypothetically say that the purpose of schooling is education -- not school dances or the particularly hystrionic "they might miss their lives", as if life only occurs between the hours of 8:30 and 2:15 in a traditional school environment. Whatever education is best for JSC's daughters, the fact that she opts for homeschooling has no correlation on whether her girls will attend dances or cease to live. Around here, those who homeschool have infinitely more social time with their friends because they are not spending: (i) hours on the bus, (ii) hours doing busy work homework, (iii) hours during study halls too noisy to ever study, and (iv) hours spent taking mandatory SOLs.

We can argue the wisdom of JLC making her choices for her daughters based on long-remembered bad experience of her own, rather than on what works for her daughters. But making different choices instead of following the herd isn't running away, it's choosing what works best for JLC's family. In fact, I'd suggest that one of the most valuable messages we can pass on to our kids is the Irish proverb: figure out what you can change, change what you can, and let go of the rest. You can change your school arrangement, so if it's making you miserable, consider changing it or change yourself. Both options should be on the table in order to make the best decision.

Geez, such narrow-minded, outmoded, judgmental and inaccurate views of homeschooling and the varied, interesting lives of homeschoolers.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 3:39 PM

JSC - so you had a bad experience in middle school so you assume your daughters will too? Remember it doesn't just happen in middle school it can happen in high school, it can happen in work (it can happen in the PTA) wouldn't it be better to teach your children how to handle themselves and maybe if you see it happening to them then look at the option of homeschooling them.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | February 6, 2007 3:41 PM

Every parent is different on what to tell kids, but I tell my kids a simplistic, G-rated version of just about everything. I want them to trust me as an authority, especially on frightening or confusing subjects such as terrorism and sex. Funny that these are in the same general category.

Posted by: Leslie | February 6, 2007 3:41 PM

There is a mighty big difference between surrender and unconditional surrender.

When Japan sued for surrender they wanted to estabish their own conditions and not admit defeat. The U.S. was not going to let that happen. According to my Dad (who actually was fighting in the Pacific at the time) the entire country was behind the U.S. accepting nothing but unconditional surrender - i.e., "Japan, you lose. Don't tell us you didn't. Don't dictate terms. Lay down ALL of your arms and prepare to be invaded after you surrender. Nothing else is acceptable. Take this as a fact. You will be destroyed if you don't." That makes it pretty clear to all readers. Japan wanted to keep their emperor. So what! Too bad. Germany probably would have liked to keep Hitler too. How many people in the world would have excepted that term for Germany's surrender?

Interesting how people who were not even born then have decided to re-write history by twisting the facts. All from the safety of their keyboards - while the military is diligently watching to ensure your safety.

Posted by: SoMD | February 6, 2007 3:43 PM

"Geez, such narrow-minded, outmoded, judgmental and inaccurate views of homeschooling and the varied, interesting lives of homeschoolers."

I don't give a damn if she homeschools. I disagree with her decision because she's making it out of distorted fear for and enmeshment with her daughters. As I said, her life is not their lives, and she shouldn't be making decisions for them as if it was. I'd say the same thing if she said, "Oh, taking 15 years of ballet was the best experience of my life; I'm going to make absolutely sure that both my girls have 15 years of ballet."

Posted by: Lizzie | February 6, 2007 3:44 PM

I vote NC lawyer for blog moderator--what a striver for balance (especially on opinion)!

Are you ready to pay her appropriately, Wapo??

Posted by: Texas Dad of 2 | February 6, 2007 3:45 PM

"Care to post your "statistical truth?" I googled Enlistment rates and came up with a different picture. This is what I mean by crap, just because you say it is so does not mean I have to believe it."

cmac,

Ooooh, is that the "real work" you left the blog to do?

Well, here's a short list of resources you may care to consult. As you'll note, all are right-wing in nature, so we won't have any liberal bias here. Not even any academic websites, 'cause we all know how bleeding-heart they are.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,166566,00.html

http://stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=23905&archive=true

http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,FL_academy_061405,00.html

http://www.thepowerhour.com/news/drop_enlistment.htm

http://www.americanprogress.org/projects/progressivepriorities/files/Ch7-Army.pdf

Guess you'll be pretty busy this afternoon washing all that crap off the walls.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:47 PM

I'm not down on homeschooling when it's right for the family, but what is JSC going to tell her kids when they BEG to go to school like everyone else?

And yanking them out of school due to a past traumatic experience in the mother's life is bizarre and likely to cause more damage than any amount of "bullying."

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:47 PM

//As I said, her life is not their lives, and she shouldn't be making decisions for them as if it was//

Lizzie, same goes for you. Shush!

Posted by: enam | February 6, 2007 3:48 PM

Every parent is different on what to tell kids, but I tell my kids a simplistic, G-rated version of just about everything. I want them to trust me as an authority, especially on frightening or confusing subjects such as terrorism and sex. Funny that these are in the same general category.

Posted by: Leslie | February 6, 2007 03:41 PM

Leslie, How old are your kids. By 8, ours wanted a more complex response than the G-rated version supplied. How can you be an authority on the topic if you don't give them enough substance?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:48 PM

Boy, the people on this blog sure know how to run other people's lives!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:48 PM

"Geez, such narrow-minded, outmoded, judgmental and inaccurate views of homeschooling and the varied, interesting lives of homeschoolers."

Texas Dad- How is THAT statement balanced in anyway whatsoever? It was actually a knee jerk attack on a few posters' comments regarding schooling that had nothing to do with homeschooling being bad and everything to do with responsing to a woman who is subjecting her kids to HER fear. Geez, this time aimed toward NC Lawyer

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:48 PM

TDo2,

You forget, NC Lawyer has a prior claim layed to her by the military!

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 3:49 PM

"Care to post your "statistical truth?" I googled Enlistment rates and came up with a different picture. This is what I mean by crap, just because you say it is so does not mean I have to believe it."

cmac,

Ooooh, is that the "real work" you left the blog to do?

Well, here's a short list of resources you may care to consult. As you'll note, all are right-wing in nature, so we won't have any liberal bias here. Not even any academic websites, 'cause we all know how bleeding-heart they are.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,166566,00.html

http://stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=23905&archive=true

http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,FL_academy_061405,00.html

http://www.thepowerhour.com/news/drop_enlistment.htm

http://www.americanprogress.org/projects/progressivepriorities/files/Ch7-Army.pdf

Guess you'll be pretty busy this afternoon washing all that crap off the walls.

Posted by: NotWhoYouThink | February 6, 2007 3:50 PM

People who talk the most
usually know the least.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:50 PM


"Care to post your "statistical truth?" I googled Enlistment rates and came up with a different picture. This is what I mean by crap, just because you say it is so does not mean I have to believe it."

cmac,

Ooooh, is that the "real work" you left the blog to do?

Well, here's a short list of resources you may care to consult. As you'll note, all are right-wing in nature, so we won't have any liberal bias here. Not even any academic websites, 'cause we all know how bleeding-heart they are.

www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,166566,00.html

stripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=23905&archive=true

www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,FL_academy_061405,00.html

www.thepowerhour.com/news/drop_enlistment.htm

www.americanprogress.org/projects/progressivepriorities/files/Ch7-Army.pdf

Guess you'll be pretty busy this afternoon washing all that crap off the walls.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:51 PM

Lizzie - Like most people, I make judgments and decisions based on experience. No, my daughters are not me, and I have never viewed them this way. They are however very sensitive and have already been victims of "mean girls." In my experience it only gets worse during those particular years. Even girls that age that I know now, as an adult, sometimes concern me with their behavior and comments. Yes, I want to protect my children. Yes, I want them to learn how to deal with difficult people. But not at the expense of their sanity and physical safety.

I know many home schooled children who have a rich, active social life, and I will enjoy being my children's teacher for those years.

Thank you NC Lawyer for standing up to the blog bullies! :)

Posted by: JSC | February 6, 2007 3:51 PM

If everyone ran their lives the way I run my life and my family the world would be a MUCH better place. I have an amazing marriage, great parents, great kids, a fantastic career and friends and hobbies. In short, pretty perfect.

So, yes, I should tell those who are woefully inept, a little advice on "How to run a life so your kids will be normal- or have a chance"

I'm amazed daily at the horrible choices people make each day. And then complain about it! Amazing

Posted by: snarky anon | February 6, 2007 3:53 PM

More tons of explosive were used in Vietnam than in all the theaters of WWI and WWI combined, including Nagasaki and Hirshima.

Don't believe me? Check out "Lies My Teacher Told Me" in bookstores. It's astounding how much misinformation we're exposed to in school. A thorough reading of that book would dispense with a lot of the arguements on today's blog.

In general, we have no idea why the bombs were dropped, and we have no idea why Bush went to war. All we can do now is end it as quickly as possible.

Posted by: Meesh | February 6, 2007 3:56 PM

JSC- why are your daughters getting picked on so much at such young ages? I honestly am not trying to be mean here. Just maybe look if there's a pattern- do they not know how to defend themselves? Are they overweight, etc? I'm not saying that the bullies are right, but there's something going on if you were horribly bullied and now your daughters are...

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 3:57 PM

JSC - Is it possible that your daughters' sensitivity could come from your fearfulness? Kids pick up on these things. I don't think Lizzie is a bully. She is just very earnest, sometimes. In any case, whatever decision you make, I hope it comes from a position of strength, not of fear. As parents, we want to instill some confidence in our kids, and sometimes, that means that you confront the bullies or ignore the bullies. Sometimes it means you avoid them. Unfortunetly, when you need to change your life to avoid them, they win, in a way. Good luck.

Posted by: Emily | February 6, 2007 3:59 PM

anon at 3:47 says:

"I'm not down on homeschooling when it's right for the family, but what is JSC going to tell her kids when they BEG to go to school like everyone else?"

Some mighty big assumptions there on how JSC's kids are going to feel in 6th grade. Maybe you're right. Maybe you're projecting how you think you'd feel, in retrospect, if you were her kids.

My big, tough, cocky 5th grader is privately scared silly about going to middle school. We teed up the issue several years back that, at 6th grade, and at 9th grade, all options were on the table for schooling and he'd have input, but we make the decision that's best for him. (He's the sort that requires significant lead-time to adjust and does not deal well with surprises.) Through 4th grade and the beginning of this year, he made snarky comments here and there about our potentially ruining his life with respect to school next year. Lo and behold, around Christmas, he started realizing that one of the options, a small, conservatively run, private, inexpensive school where you don't have to be a superstar to participate on sports teams or the drama production, probably suited him best - if we insisted on it. Kids feel. We listen. Grownups decide.

What everyone else wants and does is not the guiding light for decisions in our family. I doubt if it is in yours, either, anon.

and thanks, Texas Dad of 2 :>)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 4:00 PM

JSC -- I hope you are getting advice and input (if you want it) from friends and family -- face to face, people who know you and your daughters -- and not taking the advice from this blog to heart.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | February 6, 2007 4:01 PM

No, We are not overweight and I did not say that my children were horribly bullied. The assumptions that some posters are making is just ludicrous! My children know that they will be home schooled someday and they are BEGGING me to be home schooled now because they love it when we do that during our summers!

What's with the vitriol?

Posted by: JSC | February 6, 2007 4:02 PM

no vitriol here- just wondering if there's anything you can do to help your daughters.
Think of how some teens lives would have been changed if they got some acne meds or their parents fed them right and incorporated exercise into their lives.

Just asking what you, as a parent, can do to help them.

Also, I'd wonder about the lack of independence for homeschooling. Why do they BEG to be homeschooled? Shouldn't they want to spread their wings a little?

Posted by: snarky anon | February 6, 2007 4:06 PM

"They are however very sensitive and have already been victims of "mean girls."

Okay, I actually do understand where you're coming from, because I was an extremely sensitive child. And I'm going to do what I just railed against and make judgments based entirely on what happened to me: my mom indulged my sensitivity horribly. If I came home from school sobbing because some kid smirked at me on the bus (true story), she did not try to pull it into proper perspective; she got just as worked up as I did because she couldn't handle seeing me upset. Not surprisingly, this kind of thing made me an easy target at school. It was pretty much a self-perpetuating cycle for a few years.

It took me a long time to toughen up, and by "toughen up," I just mean gaining enough perspective to let stupid stuff roll off my back. In retrospect, I really wish that my sensitivity hadn't been indulged the way it was. It would have been to my benefit to have someone telling me that not everything I perceived as being apocalyptically terrible was worthy of that kind of attention, that sometimes kids are mean for no reason, and that it's no reflection on anybody (except them).

Posted by: Lizzie | February 6, 2007 4:07 PM

Some kids make it easy for bullies. They act scared. They don't stand up for themselves. They don't have much self-confidence. The weak are who fuel bullies. Let's try teaching kids how to survive and not letting them hide under our skirts.

And by the way, kids are like animals -- they smell fear. Kids will pick up on their parents' irrational fear, which makes them prime targets for bullying. Let's not yank them out of schools -- let's get it together and teach them life skills.

If they are going to go "insane" due to a bit of hypothetical bullying, they have bigger problems than where they are educated. Problems a professional (or child services) should intervene to address.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 4:10 PM

and make sure you vaccinate your girls with gardasil. never know when they might pick up hpv. in texas, the governor got bought by the drug company Merck lobbyists and signed an executive order requiring all 6th grade girls to be vaccinated. bypassed the legislature, public hearings, voting, everything.

make sure you explain to your girls why they're getting the shot. or maybe just give them the g-rated version ok?

Posted by: billy bob | February 6, 2007 4:12 PM

Guess you'll be pretty busy this afternoon washing all that crap off the walls.

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 03:51 PM

Did you read any of these articles? Stripes specifically notes that the drop in appl to the mil academies is not historic but perhaps 4 years of all-time high applications after 9/11. This recent graduating class was the first to enter the academies after 9/11.

From military.com, another of your articles:

"After dramatic increases in service academy applications following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, applications nationwide for the class of 2009, which will enter college this fall, dropped for all three academies for the first time since the terrorist attacks of 2001."

Funny, the foxnews article says basically the same thing but adds that a ROBUST ECONOMY always contributes to drops in acamemy applications.

www.thepowerhour.com/news/drop_enlistment.htm
This article talks about the national guard and reservists specifically. There are significant retention problems here, some due to deployment internationally and here in the states. They specifically cited FL NAtional Guard retention due to hurricanes and the New Orleans debacle.

I saw a great quote in one of the articles considering ups and downs of mil recruitment "We'll adapt." I have faith they will - and not rely on the draft.

FYI: I decided to stay on the blog to keep an eye on you - like you keep an eye on everyone else. I think you consider yourself Blog patrol. Do you want a patrol badge like in elementary school?

Posted by: CMAC | February 6, 2007 4:15 PM

JSC, there are some teenagers that are so nice, so gentle, that you would never want to spoil this aspect of their personality by sending them to school.

I met one of these types, and now at 26 years old she. is. unbelievablely. beautiful. in. every. way.

* Fo4 floats away *

Posted by: Father of 4 | February 6, 2007 4:16 PM

He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.
Lao Tzu

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 4:16 PM

I agree with Lizzie. Nobody is helping their children by indulging hyper-sensitivies. They will need to learn some proper perspective before having a succesful relationship, career, or family. I would be more concerned with the impact such irrational fears will have later in life than with a few tears after a bad school-bus ride.

Posted by: catmommy | February 6, 2007 4:17 PM

anon at 3:48:

"It was actually a knee jerk attack on a few posters' comments regarding schooling that had nothing to do with homeschooling being bad"
Posted by: | February 6, 2007 03:48 PM

Example 1:
I just hope your girls aren't even more devastated about missing junior high dances than they would have been about some hypothetical bullying.

Pulling them out of school because of some mean kids teaches them to run away -- a lesson that was only valuable for Forrest Gump.

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 03:16 PM

Example 2:

you are singling your girls out as the weak members of the herd. This will cause far more damage than a little junior high backstabbing and namecalling.

Example 3:

Starting high school in 10th grade with no safety net of good friends could ruin a girl for life!

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 03:35 PM

Yeah, cause homeschoolers have no safety net of good friends.

I'd characterize my initial response as a devils' advocate defense of a poster who disclosed to a typically hostile audience her plans for her children, a thoughtful response to which I attached my name, unlike you. If you somehow feel that my description of the nature of the fire and brimstome JSC received merits a personal attack, so be it.

I guess it's only okay to comment here of the anonymous posters believe your comment has merit.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 4:17 PM

anon at 3:48:

"It was actually a knee jerk attack on a few posters' comments regarding schooling that had nothing to do with homeschooling being bad"
Posted by: | February 6, 2007 03:48 PM

Example 1:
I just hope your girls aren't even more devastated about missing junior high dances than they would have been about some hypothetical bullying.

Pulling them out of school because of some mean kids teaches them to run away -- a lesson that was only valuable for Forrest Gump.

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 03:16 PM

Example 2:

you are singling your girls out as the weak members of the herd. This will cause far more damage than a little junior high backstabbing and namecalling.

Example 3:

Starting high school in 10th grade with no safety net of good friends could ruin a girl for life!

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 03:35 PM

I'd characterize my initial response as a devils' advocate defense of a poster who disclosed to a typically hostile audience her plans for her children, a thoughtful response to which I attached my name, unlike you. If you somehow feel that my description of the nature of the fire and brimstome JSC received merits a personal attack, so be it.

I guess it's only okay to comment here of the anonymous posters believe your comment has merit.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 4:18 PM

Since you know very little about homeschooling, you should maybe refrain from statements that homeschoolers lack independence. Perhaps her kids scream for homeschooling because school is boring or they don't have time to deeply learn about things that are of real interest to them. And what part of school is independent anyway? Teachers tell kids what they can learn, how long they can study it, and to what depth. If a kid is deeply absorbed in one subject if time is up then they have to move on. Sure eventually learning to multitask is good, but so are those people who can really focus on one thing at a time and for a long period of time (like surgeons). Kids in school can't go the the bathroom unless given permission, I can think of few places with less indpendence.

As homeschoolers her kids can take classes with people who have a real interest in a subject. They can take control of their education and learning. Isn't that what school's main purpose is--an education?

Posted by: New Poster | February 6, 2007 4:19 PM

What's the deal with people being upset by "anonymous" posters?? Does it make you feel better if I actually type "anon" or "snarky anon" or "MasterBayter" (which is hilarious) or "Meesh" or "mona"

How does that change things??

I saw a few attacks on her personal situation but nothing about homeschooling per say.

It's one thing to pull your kids because the local school system sucks or you're a religious fanatic who can't stand that Jesus isn't in the classroom- put to pull your kids because you're scared of hypothetical bullies?

Posted by: snarky anon | February 6, 2007 4:23 PM

Most 7th-9th graders don't want anything to do with their parents, and that is totally NORMAL! I can't imagine me or any of my friends wanting to spend entire days with them at that age. I even had a few homeschoolers start at my high school because they couldn't take the parent time. That age is when teenagers are supposed to develop their own friends and interests, and get away from Mom and Dad a bit. It is a part of normal development. I would have to think any kids still hanging on to the apron strings need some help, not to run away from the problem. Nobody is going to accommodate such bizarre sensitivities in the *real* world.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 4:23 PM

I am truly sorry that I brought any of this up. I'll stick to lurking.

Enjoy the snow tomorrow!

Posted by: JSC | February 6, 2007 4:27 PM

After hearing some of your ideas and beliefs, it doesn't surprise me that you normally lurk.

But please, just because you're more comfortable in the shadows and would choose invisibility as a super-power, please give your girls the opportunity to have higher self esteem and be more outgoing. If they don't rise to the occasion, so be it, but give them a chance!

Posted by: to JSC | February 6, 2007 4:31 PM

"Since you know very little about homeschooling, you should maybe refrain from statements that homeschoolers lack independence."

Actually, I would think it's the other way around. Home-schooled kids are probably very independent, but they don't have the socializing experiences that kids in school have.

So, you end up with a brilliant, independent scholar who can't get along with anyone. Makes it hard to pursue a career, maintain personal and business relationships, interact with community groups, etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 4:31 PM

JSC:I am truly sorry that I brought any of this up. I'll stick to lurking.


see what you did - you bullied her away!!

Posted by: billy bob | February 6, 2007 4:32 PM

to JSC | February 6, 2007 04:31 PM

Good Lord! Can we stop with the personal attacks? You don't know me or my family, why are you so comfortable making these kind of assumptions?

Posted by: JSC | February 6, 2007 4:34 PM

Posts on this blog are just so nasty, judgmental, condescending. It's just shameful that the Washington Post would sponsor this blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 4:34 PM

comments that include profanity will be removed from the site.

Posted by: come on, do it!! | February 6, 2007 4:35 PM

Freida home schooled the older daughter for 1 or 2 yrs because OD was not happy in school and not really learning anything. BTW, OD is quite high strung. After this time, OD went back to public school and did fine. So maybe a respite from public school is what is exactly called for. As many posters have said in the past, you know your child best.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 4:36 PM

Just because confident, outspoken posters drove her away doesn't mean they are bullies. If you have a conviction, have the cojones to stick to it! Backing down is a major sign of weakness.

Oh, and because I know this is coming, I am only anonymous because I haven't thought of a clever nom de blog, and I hate to be ordinary.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 4:37 PM

Actually, I would think it's the other way around. Home-schooled kids are probably very independent, but they don't have the socializing experiences that kids in school have.

So, you end up with a brilliant, independent scholar who can't get along with anyone. Makes it hard to pursue a career, maintain personal and business relationships, interact with community groups, etc.

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 04:31 PM

It is a good thing this board does not include any ignorant comments about homeschoolers.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 4:37 PM

Yeah, reading this blog is like watching a car wreck. It appeals to the sick inner depravity of watching someone else's misfortune.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 4:37 PM

It's a very serious thing to throw your fears onto your kids. My very best and oldest friend (i'm really her only friend- she actually opens up to me and is a great person when you get to know her) was raised by a single mom who had barely any friends, hated men (she hasn't dated since she got pregnant with my friend- 30 YEARS ago!) and didn't socialize her. Very strict to prevent her from getting hurt.

Ok, so now my friend is ALSO a single mom with a daughter (lord help us!). She doesn't arrange playdates or classes or talk to other moms- they stay in their own bubble. SHe is incapable of having a romantic relationship and when she does- it's a completely inappropriate situation.

I'd watch what fears you throw at your girls- they have VERY real consequences.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 4:37 PM

"What's the deal with people being upset by "anonymous" posters?? Does it make you feel better if I actually type "anon" or "snarky anon" or "MasterBayter" (which is hilarious) or "Meesh" or "mona"

How does that change things??"

I think people like to look for patterns so that they can demonize particular individuals with whom they often/always differ.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 4:37 PM

no one should ever homeschool. the state should make it a crime to do so. the state knows best how to educate your child.

Posted by: billy bob | February 6, 2007 4:40 PM

"... but they don't have the socializing experiences that kids in school have."

That is, in general, nonsense. When Fredia was home schooling OD, both participated in many events thru the network of other home schooled children. Particularly, if there is a large military base near you, there is probably a strong network of home schoolers.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 4:40 PM

To JSC, Leslie, Steve and others:

I think the balance you're trying to strike -- whether re today's announced topic of explaining 9/11 etc., or home schooling -- is how much to protect one's children from the horrors of life, vs. how to teach them to face facts, stand on their own two feet, figuratively speaking, etc.

No one ever said all this would be easy, nor does "one size fit all." As someone posted the other day in another context, Dr. Spock advised parents to trust their own judgments more. And I'd urge everyone to try to risk a little more, albeit cautiously (yes, yes, I know it sounds contradictory -- LOL!).

Posted by: catlady | February 6, 2007 4:41 PM

"If you have a conviction, have the cojones to stick to it!"

Oh, for pete's sake. Everything comes down to "cojones" with you guys -- and most of you are women!

You think using the term makes you seem tough? With it? Fearless?

Get a pair.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 4:41 PM

NC lawyer and dotted,
Quick update lest we be chastised - my date of Sat (he came here for dinner) hasn't contacted me since he left. Hmmm. Not heartbroken - wonder if he is waiting for me? Perhaps not worth thinking about?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 4:41 PM

they're probably better off at home- if jsc has to drop them off at school someone may cut her off in the car and drive her of a cliff

Posted by: Amanda Huginkiss | February 6, 2007 4:41 PM

"see what you did - you bullied her away!!"

Not yet, billy bob! Actually I'm trying to not laugh out loud at the ignorance and bitterness being paraded here by some of the anon posters. I just can't figure it out. Lizzie - I wasn't calling you a bully, I was referring to some of the anon posters.

Again, I'm sorry for hijacking the blog. The definition of lurker is someone who reads the comments but doesn't post, right? That's what I'll do from now on, and I can't see how that makes me "more comfortable in the shadows and would choose invisibility as a super-power . . ." get over yourself!


Posted by: JSC | February 6, 2007 4:42 PM

NC lawyer and dotted,
Quick update lest we be chastised - my date of Sat (he came here for dinner) hasn't contacted me since he left. Hmmm. Not heartbroken - wonder if he is waiting for me? Perhaps not worth thinking about?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 04:41 PM

Did you give it up?? Guys don't like to wait for it, you know.

Posted by: Amanda Huginkiss | February 6, 2007 4:43 PM

I had a homeschooler on my dorm floor in college. She's never seen a beer, a party, and a lot of other things. She turned into Turbo-Sl*t, got pregnant, and flunked out of college.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 4:43 PM

Amanda,
Nope!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 4:44 PM

"get over yourself!"

Take your own advice!

Posted by: Su-per Lurker -- Away! | February 6, 2007 4:45 PM

i can't help myself. middle school is flooding back

rofl

Posted by: Rubber balls and Liquor | February 6, 2007 4:47 PM

I just seem to naturally bring out the best in other people! :)

Posted by: JSC | February 6, 2007 4:49 PM

"I had a homeschooler on my dorm floor in college. She's never seen a beer, a party, and a lot of other things. She turned into Turbo-Sl*t, got pregnant, and flunked out of college."

wow! i guess all homeschoolers are like that, huh? we should do what billy bob suggested - make it a crime to homeschool.

that behavior could have described any coed, public, private or homeschooled. what's your point?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 4:50 PM

Some kids make it easy for bullies. They act scared. They don't stand up for themselves. They don't have much self-confidence. The weak are who fuel bullies. Let's try teaching kids how to survive and not letting them hide under our skirts.

. . .
If they are going to go "insane" due to a bit of hypothetical bullying, they have bigger problems than where they are educated. Problems a professional (or child services) should intervene to address.

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 04:10 PM

No, let's teach our kids not to be bullies, and that it's not okay to pick on someone else just because we can. JSC's kids don't need yours to teach her survival skills. Only bullies justify their bullying by blaming the victim.

In addition, you confidently suggest that child protective services should intervene in JSC's family because she's considering making different choices than you would make? Who died and made you God?

In addition to other posters suggesting that maybe her girls are overweight, have bad skin conditions, or somehow are bringing this on themselves, this post is the epitome of know-it-all ignorance. Have you no shame?

Posted by: to anon at 4:10 | February 6, 2007 4:52 PM

re: dating

Someone should write a more modern version of "The Rules." That book is pretty antiquated, but some guidance would help women getting back into the dating scene. My mother is from the generation that read the original, and she could totally use a tune-up! For the rest of us, it would be at least as amusing as the first.

Someone should also write a blog ettiquette book (or blog, whatever).

Posted by: catmommy | February 6, 2007 4:52 PM

Catmommy,
Esp for those of who are older and just getting back into the dating scene. It isn't what it was when I was 20 or 30 or even 40. Like how the heck do you ask to see someone's HIV test? I know, NC lawyer told me a couple of weeks ago (and I heartily agree) that you shouldn't be thinking about sleeping with someone you can't ask a serious question but...it is difficult.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 4:54 PM

"My mother is from the generation that read the original, and she could totally use a tune-up"

why would she need a tune-up if she's dating someone from her generation? both should be playing by the same old rules.
unless she's robbing the cradle....?!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 4:55 PM

And what is wrong with robbing the cradle? When I was 43 I dated a 27 year old. Those were the good old days.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 4:57 PM

What are these parents who feed fear and indulge bizarre sensitivities going to do when their kids 1) get dumped, 2) don't get a job they applied for, 3) don't get into the college they applied for, 4) don't get into the fraternity/sorority they wanted, 5) don't get the grades they wanted, 6) don't get the mate they wanted, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 4:58 PM

why is obama referred to as a black man? he had a biological black father who left when he was 2. he has a lily-white mother. he was raised "white". so .... why is he a black man?

Posted by: billy bob | February 6, 2007 4:58 PM

woo, KLB!!! maybe we should all be asking YOU for advice :) :)

Posted by: TakomaMom | February 6, 2007 4:59 PM

"why would she need a tune-up if she's dating someone from her generation? both should be playing by the same old rules."


Good point. Actually, the biggest problem isn't the ettiquet. It's that men her age are either 1) married, 2) gay, or 3) looking for women MY age.

Posted by: catmommy | February 6, 2007 5:00 PM

TakomaMom:
That was 9 years ago and I am much rustier now than I was then. You all are my "naval jelly" (tell 'em Fred what it is).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 5:00 PM

JSC - Ignore those posters - you know what is best for your kids. I know girls who went to "normal" school who went nuts at college too. As for not preparing them for the "real world". I've met some pretty jerky people in the real world, but none of them hung out by my office EVERY day to call me hateful names, nor have any of my adult bullies ever threatened to beat me up in the parking lot. Girls can be evil (esp. in high school) and relentlessly so - they will seek out and destroy another girl for no apparent reason. Everyone makes decisions based on their experience. Those who were bullied and are "ok" make their choice based on that outcome for them - you make yours. You know what's right - own it and don't let the turkeys get you down.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 6, 2007 5:00 PM

"Like how the heck do you ask to see someone's HIV test?"

You could always take a small blood sample while they're sleeping and send it off to the lab the next morning...

Posted by: catmommy | February 6, 2007 5:02 PM

"we should do what billy bob suggested - make it a crime to homeschool."

That may be a little extreme, but I do think that it's pretty arrogant for parents who have no training to think they can do a better job of educating their kids than the professionals.

I'm not a mechanic, so I wouldn't think of trying to fix my car. I'm not an electrician, so I wouldn't rewire my house. I'm not a surgeon, so I'd pretty much shy away from performing tonsillectomies.

Why should I assume I can educate my kid just because I'm a parent!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 5:02 PM

Most men my age are either married or there is a good reason why they are not. Many are indeed looking for their "trophy wife" for number two. Notice I did not say all as I am sure that there are a few good single ones out there. I just haven't been able to find even one.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 5:02 PM

Catmommy,
But if you steal the blood the next morning then it is too late! Need it ahead of time. I know - slam his finger in the car door and catch the blood!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 5:04 PM

"Good point. Actually, the biggest problem isn't the ettiquet. It's that men her age are either 1) married, 2) gay, or 3) looking for women MY age."

so she's looking for someone half her age.
in that case, she ought to be asking demi moore, not us.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 5:04 PM

"how do you ask for someone's HIV test?"

Well, ask him for it. Or agree to get one together if you both have that itch that has to be scratched. If you don't, you're simply being an idiot. Get the results, then have some fun...

Posted by: anon xx | February 6, 2007 5:04 PM

snarky anon, becomes something happens when you have to attach a name consistently to your comments. you become a notch more responsible for tone. It also exposes you to targetted snarkiness, but if you have the confidence to post, you ought to have the confidence to ignore the snark attacks. It also allows you to disclaim associationg with obnoxious anonymous posters - a category for which many of us have only disdain - not that that should impact your choice, but since you asked . . .

jsc - you didn't hijack the blog. you diverted it from the history lesson that had pretty much run its course. unfortunately, you revealed a lot about many that we'd probably rather not have known. sigh. best wishes on choices that are right for your family.

KLB - not worth thinking about, but then, you know I'm biased towards nice, direct and non-game playing. You know, the sort that if he blogged wouldn't post anonymously :>)

anon at 4:41 - sorry you have a problem with the use of "cojones". I consider it neither tough, "with it" (I have never heard anyone use that phrase, but have to assume you're fond of Laugh-In reruns), fearless, or only appropriate to be used by men. It passes for mild and socially acceptable in most mixed-gender environments, but if you want to post a list of acceptable blog jargon, I'll do my gosh-danged, dead-level best to adapt to your dictates, Oh Lord and Master.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 5:05 PM

This seems wrong.
What opportunity to make thing better did we miss? NOTHING we do will lessen the hatred frlt toward america nothing that is except cease to exist

Posted by: Dod o two | February 6, 2007 5:06 PM

"Why should I assume I can educate my kid just because I'm a parent!"

My degree in education should come in pretty handy then!

Thanks, moxiemom, I always enjoy reading your posts. :)

Posted by: JSC | February 6, 2007 5:06 PM

You should probably also take a hair sample to send to the lab for drug-testing. I'd also check the local sex offender registry to be extra safe.

Seriously. You never know where someone has been!

Oh, it is also extremely important to know, herpes can be transmitted even where there is no sign of an outbreak!

Posted by: catmommy | February 6, 2007 5:07 PM

"Most men my age are either married or there is a good reason why they are not. Many are indeed looking for their "trophy wife" for number two. Notice I did not say all as I am sure that there are a few good single ones out there. I just haven't been able to find even one."

KLB, scan the obits. target the widowers who are on the rebound.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 5:07 PM

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 05:02 PM

See what I mean about the assumptions being made here today?

Posted by: JSC | February 6, 2007 5:07 PM

Catmommy,
Not sure I will go to the extrememe of drug testing. I agree about STDs not being immediately noticed but that can go both ways. There are a couple of sex offender sites and I do check them once in a while - just to see who lives near me if nothing else.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 5:10 PM

"Many are indeed looking for their "trophy wife" for number two. Notice I did not say all as I am sure that there are a few good single ones out there. I just haven't been able to find even one."

KLB,
Take heart. There are good ones out there.

Just the other day, my husband called me his trophy wife. I'm his first (and only, unless I die first) wife, 50 yrs old, gray hair, pudgy, dress dumpy, pretty average-looking.

But, in his eyes, I guess, I haven't changed in the 15+ years we've been together. (And, 15 years ago, I was blond, slim, very stylish, and 35 yrs old!)

Really, they're out there. Just take a bit of looking.

Posted by: pittypat | February 6, 2007 5:13 PM

Oh, here's another lesson a friend learned the hard way. Might want to check local court records for protective orders, marriages, and divorces (i.e., make sure he's actually divorced if he says he is, and that he isn't supposed to stay 200 feet away from his last girlfriend).

Posted by: catmommy | February 6, 2007 5:14 PM

Pittypat,
And I bet he looks the same to you! Awesome for you both.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 5:15 PM

Catmommy,
Never even thought of that - ARGH! You know he said he was divorced but has never called me. Everything is done via email. I am suspicious but, since I haven't heard from him since Sat it is probably a moot point.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 5:16 PM

I was kidding about the drug testing, in case anyone didn't catch that.

Posted by: catmommy | February 6, 2007 5:17 PM

"anon at 4:41 - sorry you have a problem with the use of "cojones". I consider it neither tough, "with it" (I have never heard anyone use that phrase, but have to assume you're fond of Laugh-In reruns), fearless, or only appropriate to be used by men. It passes for mild and socially acceptable in most mixed-gender environments, but if you want to post a list of acceptable blog jargon, I'll do my gosh-danged, dead-level best to adapt to your dictates, Oh Lord and Master."

NC lawyer,

I wasn't objecting to the use of cojones on a moral basis. Geez! Read more carefully!

It's just hackneyed and stupid. Everyone uses it nowadays, and y'all really need to find something original.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 5:17 PM

"Pittypat,
And I bet he looks the same to you! Awesome for you both."

Yeah, KLB, he really does. :>)

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 5:20 PM

Pittypat,
Is where the term "love is blind" comes from?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 5:21 PM

"Pittypat,
Is where the term "love is blind" comes from?"

Maybe, KLB. But, I think my husband looks terrific even though I see how much he's changed in all those years.

I'm a firm believer in chemistry, and I think it figures in. There's just no way I'd see him as anything other than attractive.

Posted by: pittypat | February 6, 2007 5:24 PM

Pittypat,
I guess that is why I don't really care that this guy hasn't called - there was no spark. Easy conversation for sure but nada.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 5:25 PM

Here's a legitimate question for this blog: Where do all of these marginal topics come from? Whenever there is a non-starter, the regular bloggers are more than happy to segway into a relevant subject, and a lot of people will follow. Plus, I've seen numerous good suggestions for future blog topics. I guess that begs the question, with so many good ideas out there, why are we still watching the same tired discussion about FMLA, working vs. stay-at-home moms, etc.? And today's was way out in left field, although it did spark some discussion, albeit totally unrelated to work-life balance.

Why not take some of the suggestions offered by the regulars and embraced by the rest? Why recycle the same tired stuff?

I'm married with no children, and read this blog to see how other people balance work and life. The Iraq war doesn't really factor in for me. I just don't get where some of these left-field topics come from when there are so many goods ones offered every day.

Posted by: catmommy | February 6, 2007 5:28 PM

"Pittypat,
Is where the term "love is blind" comes from?"

Alternatively, you see the real person that the other one is, not the superficial.

Posted by: catlady | February 6, 2007 5:31 PM

"I guess that is why I don't really care that this guy hasn't called - there was no spark. Easy conversation for sure but nada."

KLB,

Yeah, sometimes you gotta trust your gut -- or your hackles. :>)

I fell for my husband the evening we met, even though we had only a 20-min conversation and didn't actually hook up for even a date until well over a year later.

Sometimes you just know.

But I also believe that some people grow into love with someone they've been having a great friendship with.

Lots of ways for it to happen. But rest assured, there are good single men (and divorced men) out there looking for good women like you. Keep yourself in there!

Posted by: pittypat | February 6, 2007 5:31 PM

pittypat -- I call my cats "pitty-pat" as a term of endearment (no I'm not a crazy cat person, but I do talk to them). Every time I see your name on a post it makes me smile.

Posted by: catmommy | February 6, 2007 5:31 PM

KLB SS MD - hey he did you a favor and saved you some time and effort. Now you know that you don't need to invest any more in him. Good luck - you sure as hell don't want to settle, I see lots of that out here in the burbs!

JSC - I wish I had someone like you to teach my kids.

Posted by: moxiemom | February 6, 2007 5:34 PM

I was hoping that it would work that way - friendship and comfort first then the rest but not so sure it is going to work that way.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 5:35 PM

catmommy,

Pittypat was actually the nickname of a dear departed cat of ours. All grey and crabby as hell, but we loved her.

Hey, that DOES sound like me!

Posted by: pittypat | February 6, 2007 5:36 PM

Moxiemom,
Yes, he did save me some time and effort. I am going on vacation next week (Bahamas) and will get back into it when I come back.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 5:37 PM

KLB SS MD, Please repeat after me: "His loss is far greater than mine."

Posted by: catlady | February 6, 2007 5:38 PM

Catlady,
"His loss is greater than mine" - I own my own home (and lots of tools) and have all my own teeth.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 5:39 PM

"I was hoping that it would work that way - friendship and comfort first then the rest but not so sure it is going to work that way."

KLB,

Well, like I said, it can happen all kinds of ways.

A dear friend of mine (the person who introduced me to my husband) met a guy years ago (16? 17?) online in a depression chat room. They "chatted" increasingly with each other in the chat room, then started emailing back and forth. After about a year-and-a-half of this, they decided they wanted to meet.

He lived on the west coast, she on the east. They met at a spot of mutual interest and confirmed that the attraction really was there. Within 6 mos, she had moved out there.

This was about 10 or 11 years ago. A year ago Christmas, they got married in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon -- just before her 50th birthday. (He's 6 or 7 years younger.)

Who'd have thought it? They're deliriously happy.

Be open to all possibilities. :>)

Posted by: pittypat | February 6, 2007 5:42 PM

I met him on-line and we chatted for a couple of weeks. When we finally met it was very comfortable. I am open to other things.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 5:45 PM

That may be a little extreme, but I do think that it's pretty arrogant for parents who have no training to think they can do a better job of educating their kids than the professionals.

Why should I assume I can educate my kid just because I'm a parent!

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 05:02 PM

In the event that you have not reviewed a homeschooling curriculum for a highschooler before, the topics within the curriculum generally are self-directed rather than teacher-directed instruction. In other words, it's generally a self-directed program within the confines of an established curriculum.

If you'd review the course listings for an undergraduate education degree, the degree possessed by the average high school teacher, you might have a better perspective on why I am better qualified to homeschool my child than the teachers at the high school to which our child is assigned. Many teachers in that school never took a single class in physics or calculus or chemistry or biology. I did. They took classes in educational theory. I did not. I know how my kid learns best, and have the time to encourage exploration on related topics if something strikes her fancy one day. They do not know my child and cannot conform the pace and style of the class to accommodate her interests. Will my child learn best from someone who knows how she learns and thinks, and who also understands physics, biology and calculus, or by an expert in education who teaches in an approach that may or may not synch up with how my child learns?

You would not take your car to a mechanic who has never before worked on a car. You would not go to a surgeon to conduct his first surgery on you. If you consider that your child is best served by being in a highschool level science or math class likely to be led by a 22 year old armed with her B.A. in Education and zero years of experience, that may be the best decision for your child. You know best. It is not necessarily arrogant for another parent to reach the opposite conclusion for his child.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 5:45 PM

KLB SS MD - Bon Voyage - we shall miss you. Have a wonderful time!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 5:49 PM

Thanks - don't leave until next Thurs. You are stuck with me until then :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 5:50 PM

have my own teeth... made me laugh out loud! so funny!

Posted by: s | February 6, 2007 5:54 PM

"I met him on-line and we chatted for a couple of weeks. When we finally met it was very comfortable. I am open to other things."

KLB,
I wonder if possibly there is something there but he's a little inept at followup.

My husband, whom I utterly adore, was VERY slow out of the starting gate. Then, once we started going out, he became somewhat unreliable. He had some personal problems that needed sorting (as did I), and luckily we tackled all that in our first year together. Things smoothed out, and we've never looked back.

Is it possible that you and this guy just got lines crossed?

Posted by: pittypat | February 6, 2007 5:55 PM

Well, he was supposed to come over for brunch one Sunday but forgot. Then he made it this past Sat. The thing that makes me wonder is that he has never called me - everything via email. Suspicious?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 5:59 PM

"His loss is greater than mine" - I own my own home (and lots of tools) and have all my own teeth.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 05:39 PM

KLB, in addition to the home, tools and teeth, as I recall you also have valuable painting skills to offer :>)

Have a wonderful vacation -- how awesome!

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 6:00 PM

NC lawyer,
Yes, I have painted most of my house by myself. And have I told you that I am perfect in every way? ;-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 6:01 PM

"They took classes in educational theory. I did not."

Well, there's the first problem, right there.

Dismiss educational theory if you like, but it's critical material for someone who is going to teach effectively. Teaching is not simply sharing what you know about physics. That's why people with undergrad degrees in physics can't get jobs as high school teachers. They don't know how to teach.

"I know how my kid learns best"

Actually, without some background in educational theory, you probably don't. You know what you THINK is the way your kid learns best. Parents who attempt to teach their kids generally don't have a lot of objectivity about their children's abilities.

"and have the time to encourage exploration on related topics if something strikes her fancy one day. They do not know my child and cannot conform the pace and style of the class to accommodate her interests."

The next huge misconception. How do you go about educating your daughter that, in the real world, what takes her fancy might not be the thing she has to concentrate on at a particular time. How does she learn to work at another's "pace" and "style" if she's only ever had to work at her own? Will she go through life expecting everyone to "accommodate her interests"?

I don't care how good the curriculum is. Real school is an experience that children need to grow, learn, adapt, create, interact, accommodate, and socialize.

The airy-fairy unreality you're imposing on your child is that she need never learn to follow directions in a group, that things will always be arranged to "accommodate" her, that she can have what she wants when she wants it, and that other people's needs really aren't very important.

Congratulations on raising a lovely little citizen.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 6:07 PM

"Well, he was supposed to come over for brunch one Sunday but forgot. Then he made it this past Sat. The thing that makes me wonder is that he has never called me - everything via email. Suspicious?"

KLB,
Well, maybe. But on the other hand, we're a society now so used to using email for everything that lots of people really avoid using the phone. For many, it's an option that appeals because they never liked using the phone before. For others, it's just become an ingrained habit.

Is he shy at all?

Posted by: pittypat | February 6, 2007 6:23 PM

"I don't care how good the curriculum is. Real school is an experience that children need to grow, learn, adapt, create, interact, accommodate, and socialize."

anon at 6:07, it's your way or the highway I see. Only large public institutions qualify as real school. That's pretty funny.

What children need is education, socialization, athletics, the arts, and exposure to differing points of view. I did not realize that your way is the only way to raise children.


"The airy-fairy unreality you're imposing on your child is that she need never learn to follow directions in a group, that things will always be arranged to "accommodate" her, that she can have what she wants when she wants it, and that other people's needs really aren't very important. Congratulations on raising a lovely little citizen."


Good luck with that lovely little supercilious, condescending attitude you have. If that was the result of your schooling, it doesn't speak much for repeating the same process in the next generation.

Life, good parents, good friends, camps, jobs, and volunteering result in growth, learning, adaptation, creation, interaction, accommodation, and socialization. Homeschooling is as real as any other environment. Our daughter follows directions in a group on a daily basis, on her softball team, in her group instrument classes, while engaging in volunteer activities like Habitat, and in her youth group. It is a little odd that you consider these skills are the exclusive province of traditional schools. The rest of your assumptions are simply too bizarre to address. You seem quite angry and unhappy.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 6:25 PM

Off topic post WARNING!

KLB SS MC,

Fredia loved the salon. I bought her a package and she added to it. I took a nap during her many hours of salon time. We had an excellent dinner afterwards.

The funny thing was that I put a tip for the salon employees on the bill when I paid it. Guess what Fredia did?

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 6:25 PM

More comments on home schooling.

Many states mandate that a home schooler be registered and an educational plan be filed by the parent(s). Many states follow up by home visits to ensure that the curriculum is being followed.

Many parents obtain a curriculum and text books to teach from. Most have set school hours and activities.

Home schooling is just not staying home and saying, "will we learn something today?"

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 6:31 PM

"Only large public institutions qualify as real school."

Nah, don't have to be big. Just gotta have real teachers.

"You seem quite angry and unhappy."

Nah, I'm pretty darn happy.

I notice that the point you don't address is the most important: that people without backgrounds in education are not qualified to be teachers.

You can give your kid all the experiences that you think are important to growing a happy, healthy child, but that only qualifies you to be a good parent (which I have no doubt you are). It doesn't make you qualified to teach. They're not the same thing.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 6:31 PM

"Many parents obtain a curriculum and text books to teach from. Most have set school hours and activities."

But still, Fred, they're not TEACHERS.

Have we lost so much respect for this profession that we can arrogantly claim that buying a guidebook and prepackaged materials qualifies us to teach children?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 6:36 PM

"...that people without backgrounds in education are not qualified to be teachers."

I guess that my BS in Business would disqualify me from teaching my kid anything!

Of course my degree is from a CSS.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 6:38 PM

Posted by: | February 6, 2007 06:31 PM

"I notice that the point you don't address is the most important: that people without backgrounds in education are not qualified to be teachers."

Given your ongoing rant on how all those valuable experiences could only be gained in school, and what was it again, "airy-fairy" reality, and how she was going to be a crappy citizen unused to following directions and with a big head, it's hard to imagine how I didn't see that your most MOST IMPORTANT POINT was that only those with four-year education degrees are qualified to teach. I can only surmise that you haven't seen how much teaching goes on in many schools these days. If you sincerely believe that the sole indicator of teaching ability is the possession of a diploma in education and not any ability or expertise, I recommend that you take a moment to glance at the most recent standards of learning results produced by all of those experts employed by the high schools in your area, then come back and tell us what you think.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 6:44 PM

"I guess that my BS in Business would disqualify me from teaching my kid anything!"

Come on, Fred. That comment isn't worthy of you.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 6:44 PM

Fred, Our degrees from CSS are even less valued than we thought. Sigh.

It is a wonder that my great grandparents taught themselves the English language without the benefit of a degreed instructor :>)

If possible, I think the discourse was more civil when the topic was WWII.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 6:50 PM

"Have we lost so much respect for this profession that we can arrogantly claim that buying a guidebook and prepackaged materials qualifies us to teach children?"

Quite frankly, for some of the teachers that have taught my children, yes, they engender no respect.

For the average college graduate, I see no particular issue in teaching that individual's child, especially in the lower grades. As for guidebooks and prepackaged materials, this is what certified teachers use also.

I have a bit of insight into this as; 1) I was Fredia's study buddy in her last year in college pursuing an education degree and 2. Our children have been to home school, private school and public school.

I am a strong supporter of public education, my older children did all graduate from public HS. But I do not discount the ability and sometimes the desirability to home school a child.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 6:50 PM

"Come on, Fred. That comment isn't worthy of you."

Yea, I can be snarky some times! The post above this is my real answer.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 6:52 PM

Great post, Fred.

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 6:54 PM

NC Lawyer, which one? the one about being snarky?

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 6:57 PM

I am not the person you are having the running conversation - but I am really confused by the most recent post.

Enlistment rates and applications to the elite military academies are two entirely different things. As far as I can tell that is like answering questions about junior college applications with this year's stats from Harvard?

Isn't stop-loss pretty much a draft of those who did their duty and did not choose to re-enlist?

Posted by: to cmac | February 6, 2007 6:58 PM

Fred,
I bet she reduced the tip or added to it. I don't know you well enough to tell if you are frugal or overly generous. My guess is she reduced it - that's my final answer.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 6:59 PM

KLB SS MD,

I am the cheap one. Fredia gave all of them another tip!

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 7:00 PM

cmac, Stop loss is not across the board. It is only enforced to those positions that are in short supply/great demand. Not that it matters if you are one of the people affected. I am retired from the Army/Army Reserves and work for the military. My boss is planning to retire in June (surgeon) and is certainly hoping that something doesn't happen to his plans.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 7:01 PM

Rats! Can't even win with a 50/50 bet. Maybe some credit because I narrowed it down to those two choices?
Glad you had a good time.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 7:03 PM

The astronaut is out on bail - what a strange story that is.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 7:04 PM

"If possible, I think the discourse was more civil when the topic was WWII."

I had a lot more to say on this but I will keep the truce with Emily.

BTW, my father worked on Project Manhattan. He had a minuscule part but none the less.

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 7:09 PM

Fred,
You and your family have led interesting lives.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 7:10 PM

Fred, no, LOL, the 6:50 post.

KLB - the astronaut story is really, really odd. and sad. and better to think about than the Oregon man using a stun gun on his 18 month old.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 7:13 PM

sorry I missed the comment earlier that also brought up the academies, so I understand your response better.

I am still under the impression that there have been *enlistment* troubles - and some unfortunate corresponding decreases in acceptance criteria as well as anecdotal discussion of too much pressure to meet quotas.

Thanks KLB - I would be interested in the stop-loss stats. I have different feelings about a high level officer with a technical skill set being forced to stay versus an enlisted infantry member who walks the front lines...

I know Germany was picked on earlier but it seems like it still may be important to us strategically. Certainly the military hospital is doing overtime there - I am not sure it would work to transfer critical patients straight to the US. Similarly flights can reach destinations in the Middle East more quickly & without refueling. You need some military installations that are near your areas of concern without being in them.

Posted by: to cmac (again) | February 6, 2007 7:15 PM

What is also odd is the Navy saying her status hasn't changed. Duh - she assaulted another military member. The guy may also be in trouble if he was having an affair with her as she is married. She sure looks like she lost it.
Didn't hear the stun gun story and don't think I will look it up either.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 7:16 PM

"Good point. Actually, the biggest problem isn't the ettiquet. It's that men her age are either 1) married, 2) gay, or 3) looking for women MY age."

Sorry, KLB, Fredia ain't letting go anytime soon!

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 7:21 PM

KLB, how does spraying someone with pepper spray support an attempted murder charge?

Posted by: NC lawyer | February 6, 2007 7:23 PM

Mr. Fox states the following:

"I told him that we didn't know how many people hated us before that day. That it's gotten worse since September 11."

Mr. Fox's former job:

Steve Fox worked as an editor at washingtonpost.com for 10 years. He was the national/political editor on 9/11 and during its aftermath.


I think I know why he no longer works at the WaPost. Mr nationa/political editor did not know how many people hated us???

Does he not remember The USS COLE, Khobar Towers and First WTC bombing. Not to mention countless other attacks on "western targets".

Apparently he forgot to explain that part to junior.

It amazes me what liberals will intellectually omit to support and diseminate their hatred of all things Bush.


Posted by: Michael | February 6, 2007 7:26 PM

NC lawyer,
Got me - You are the lawyer - I am just a nurse.
Maybe it is the wig and trenchcoat, knife, rubber hose, gloves and garbage bags that make them think it was more than a simple confrontation. Feel so sorry for husband and kids.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | February 6, 2007 7:36 PM

Michael,

Fox didn't say that he was unaware of the events you reference. What he said was that we, Americans, pre-9/11, didn't know how many people hated us. Not everyone follows the news as closely as you. Those who did closely follow the news considered such events as nothing more than further evidence of bad guys in the world, the isolated acts of nutcases and fringe militants.

We thought everyone wanted to be like us, a super-power, economically successful, free. We did not appreciate that many in Muslim nations consider us spoiled and immoral and a few wanted our citizens to die. We were shocked to be attacked on our own soil and to have photos of applauding Arab citizens available on the web when news of the attacks went around the world.

I disagree with most of what was in this column, I don't see anything controversial about this particular comment and don't see how it relates to Mr. Bush at all.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 6, 2007 7:48 PM

If you'd review the course listings for an undergraduate education degree, the degree possessed by the average high school teacher, you might have a better perspective on why I am better qualified to homeschool my child than the teachers at the high school to which our child is assigned. Many teachers in that school never took a single class in physics or calculus or chemistry or biology. I did. They took classes in educational theory. I did not.

----------------------------------------
----------------------------------------

The generic education degree is for the elementary level?

In the northeast you are generally required to major in a field to teach it at the high school level. There are some ways around this so that engineers can become math teachers, etc. but there is a strong focus on subject at the high school level - in
addition to ed certification.

At the college level all you need is a PhD in the subject - no pedagogical training at all.

Most anyone should be able to understand the content of seventh grade history, english, and math questions. This is not a slam against elementary ed teachers, since I FIRMLY believe that being able to explain something to one child is FAR easier than managing to teach a classroom full of them at one time (cook vs. chef). Most people I know who choose to home school only do so if they have kids whose learning styles they can teach to - whereas teachers don't get to pick, so they need to know more about the varieties of learning styles.

Many fewer parents are prepared to give their children AP-level instruction in a genuine variety of fields. Being qualified in all of the sciences you claim above would be an impressive feat... Plus how do you handle the cost and messiness of lab equipment since such courses generally have a nontrivial lab component (another big distinction from el ed to high school)? Dissecting a smelly fetal pig at the kitchen table sounds entirely unappealing to me.

If the instructors are as unqualified as you say, the US is in more educational trouble than I ever imagined... Where do you live?

Posted by: Correction (I hope) | February 6, 2007 7:50 PM

To Fred & Fredia,

After double-tipping this time, I ímagine the next time you go back they'll really roll out the red carpet for you!

Posted by: catlady | February 6, 2007 8:04 PM

Oops! Can't believe my syntactical error (hey, it's late, I'm tired...). So let's try again:

To Fred & Fredia,

After you double-tipped this time, I ímagine the next time you go back they'll really roll out the red carpet for you!

Posted by: catlady | February 6, 2007 8:06 PM

I can give you a partial answer to your question about labs and science projects.

A parent may not necessarily teach all subjects. As I mentioned before, there are home schooling networks which provide opportunities for labs and projects. A child may receive on hands lab instruction from another parent with a BS in chem. or engineering. Fredia has seen many home school entries into regional science fairs. And, yes, some parents do dissect the frog on the "kitchen table."

Posted by: Fred | February 6, 2007 8:08 PM

KLB-

She's an astronaut. She had all that stuff so she could do a MacGyver and make baloon animals and stuff for the other woman.

Posted by: Proud Papa | February 6, 2007 8:36 PM

Poster at 06:31 PM wrote:

"I notice that the point you don't address is the most important: that people without backgrounds in education are not qualified to be teachers."

If this is true, then why don't colleges, universities, and private schools require teaching faculty to have backgrounds in education?

There is no correlation between passing a bunch of fluffy education classes and being a good teacher. Good teachers understand their subject matter and are good at communicating it to others. Unfortunately, many certified teachers do not meet these criteria.

And good parents ARE teachers. In addition to providing for their children's basic needs, good parents teach and guide their children every day.

Posted by: MBA Mom | February 6, 2007 8:55 PM

wow-I missed a lot. klb-I know it is easy to say, but hard to actually do, but let things happen the way they unfold. You didn't sound too enthused so going slow is okay for you and for him. I'm happy you got out there. You are an inspiration. I mean that.

Posted by: dotted | February 6, 2007 9:05 PM

on double tipping-I'm sure it was worth it for both Fred and Fredia!

on homeschooling-better you than me and I'm was a tenured professor! I wouldn't want to do it, but I can't fault those that do. Teaching children is an art, imho. I'd rather teach the AP classes. Having said that, I don't fall for that party line saying parents know their children best-my parents certainly didn't know me best starting about middle school(junior high in my case). Elementary and younger, the party line may be true...middle and older, no way. Middle school is a time of separation of truths. And parents don't know the sole truth any longer.

Posted by: dotted | February 6, 2007 9:10 PM

... you probably don't want to hear my snotty engineering PhD opinion of the value of many MBAs. (I find your tone really offputting if you can't tell.) Bill Gates and Michael Dell didn't finish their undergrad degrees (nevermind their MBAs) but that doesn't mean that on average college degrees aren't helpful.

I am one of those college teachers you write of. I am good with teaching subject matter to young adults & could probably handle highly motivated teens or even individual tutoring of younger ones - but I would want some help, before facing down a class full of elementary school students at one time.

p.s. many college profs do read about and spend time discussing pedagogy, it is not all fluff. There are engineering conferences related to the research on the teaching of the subject!

Posted by: to MBA mom | February 6, 2007 9:18 PM

Pedagogy is important in teaching, e.g., a foreign language, even (or especially?) at the college/university level, where the courses are much more concentrated than in JHS & HS.

Posted by: catlady | February 6, 2007 10:00 PM

Enlistment rates and applications to the elite military academies are two entirely different things. As far as I can tell that is like answering questions about junior college applications with this year's stats from Harvard?

Isn't stop-loss pretty much a draft of those who did their duty and did not choose to re-enlist?


Posted by: to cmac | February 6, 2007 06:58 PM

Geez - I missed a lot last night. Yes, you have stop loss right and I assume KB has it correct that it is not across the board.

Yes, academy graduates and general en-listment are apples and oranges. The conversation deteriorated after we started discussing the draft and the realistic expectations of it's return. My point was that we had to exhaust fresh recruits, re-enlistments, reservists, stop-loss, enlistment standards changes, troop re-assignments (Germany) etc before we ever got to the draft. I wasn't even talking about the academies - the snarky anonymous poster brought up the drop in applications then posted 3/5 articles on the topic. A 20-30% drop in just applications to the military academies does not make a dent in the overall man-power of the military. Also, the drop in applications was explained (by the articles themselved) but the question still lingers, at what point do we institute a draft?

My conclusion is it is improbable, but depends entirely on the "event" we are talking about. Fred pointed out the process in Congress. Heck, even Martial Law is not out of the question. Worrying about the draft for your teenage son seems a bit extreme to me, but if that is where you want to place your worry - fine.

Posted by: cmac | February 7, 2007 8:46 AM

Nice hijacking folks....guess it's easier to change the subject than confront the issue.

This guy is doing nothing more than pushing his own beliefs by pretending to look thru the eyes of childhood innocence.....brought to you by the sponsers of William Arkin.

The washington post has sunk below redemption.

Posted by: RDJ | February 7, 2007 9:47 AM

"At the college level all you need is a PhD in the subject - no pedagogical training at all."

Yeah, that's because, at college level, you're teaching what are essentially adults. They've pretty much completed their important developmental stuff, so you can't do much damage there.

It's at the elementary level that teacher training and certification are so critical, because children are going through their most intense developmental stages (after the 1-5 yrs, which is inarguable the most important stage).

With kids in elementary grades, it isn't enough to just be able to tell them things you know about. Learning/developing are critical processes that are well understood by those who have had early childhood and elementary level teacher training.

The very fact that several of you have indicated that the elementary grades should be the easiest for parents to handle shows that you have little understanding of what you're talking about. Those grades are the ones parents are least prepared to teach.

It ain't just the info, folks. It ain't just the fact.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 7, 2007 10:42 AM

yeah I suppose we are all suppose to believe that this kid came up with all this on his own.

Congratulation dad, you did a great job of brain washing the kid. My 12 year old son has a vastly cleaner vocabulary and far less hate in him. I wonder if his son picked that up in the same place, dad.

Posted by: Verne | February 8, 2007 12:07 AM

This blog was total crap.

Come on, Fox's son doesn't know what a hijacker was but knows how to find and use the President's email address? Fox never spoke to his son about 9-11 but could have (according to his son) lied to him about it. Interesting how Fox could have lied if he had not spoken about it. To top the ruse, his says his son then asked about the Palestinians and Israelis and why everyone hates us (gee, I am sure his son came up with that conclusion all on his own).

I always suspected that liberals stole many of their ideas from 8 year olds. This blog confirms it . . . .

Posted by: ArmyJAG | February 8, 2007 1:27 AM

I think it's really sad that a child asked a father about unbelieveably horrible acts committed by racist, sexist, anti-semetic murderous thugs driven by a warped ideology and a thirst for genocide, and the child is left to think that the bad guy is the president of the United States.

It's this sort of non-sensical self-hatred that makes it so appealing for our president to ignore Europe and the Left more than he probably should.

I'm sorry that some think it's a foregone conclusion that the world hates us now more than it did before 9/11. I'm sorry that some think it's more important to be liked than it is to be alive.

Posted by: Michael | February 8, 2007 7:02 PM

Cmac. "I told her what horrible people terrorists are"
For the iraki children, who do you think the "horrible terrorists are, cmac?
and "How they prey in inoocent"
The iraki children are seen every minute how they themselves are the innocents Americans prey´s.
I think the Americans are not entitled to call anyone terrorist, they have the means to spread the most terrorific "terror in the world" and they use it.
And You pretend us to believe you taught respect to your children?

Posted by: teresa | February 12, 2007 8:32 AM

I doubt anyone is still reading this thread, but so what. When I was 8, the country was absorbed in Watergate and don't think I didn't know it. My teachers gave me an earful. My parents, thankfully, did little preaching, asked me questions about my own thoughts, and let me draw my own conclusions.

I was never shielded from the news, and my parents watched it every night. Some of my earliest memories were of the fall of Saigon, the Belfast riots, the kidnapping of Patty Hearst. The message I got was always the same: home is a safe place. The world can be dangerous and unpredictable. Beyond that, my parents wanted to know what I thought and were always willing to supply me with the facts - and only the facts - I didn't have. I reached my own conclusions on their politics, but probably not until I was in junior high school (my politics are far nearer my father's than my mother's, but they are entirely my own).

The net result was an abhorrence of letting others, including my teachers, do my thinking for me. If you want to raise a conservative/libertarian child, I suggest you use this approach. But if you want to inculcate the everything-I-need-to-know-I-learned-in-kindergarten philosophy, you'll need to try something different.

Posted by: Middle-Aged | February 13, 2007 8:29 PM

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